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Synopsis "Beautifully written, cleverly argued, and skillfully researched, Debra Gimlin's "Body Work goes beyond the argument that the beauty industry exists only to control women. Instead, Gimlin examines women's relationship to beauty from a feminist sociological perspective, finding that women are not dupes of the beauty industry but rather use body work in both empowering and degrading ways.

New York: Metropolitan Books, Rooks, Noliwe M. New Brunswick, N. Depending on the way the standard of beauty is defined in larger culture, the way women either conform to or rebel against the it can be interpreted as a political act. In the United States, as well as in other majority-white societies, mainstream beauty culture is often dependent on and defined by white cisgendered women, usually framed around the male gaze. The ways women of color and queer women interact with the mainstream standard of beauty is often seen as a statement, whether that is actually the case or not.

Bellatricksy: Debra Gimlin--Body Work: Beauty and Self Image in American Culture ()

Also, compared to the other two national samples, there is a strong negative association to old age , but also weaker positive connections compared to the other 2 samples to beauty , and to its other traditional cultural associates: body, nature, happiness and sport.

As the other two samples, Romanian participants identify more strongly with culture, youth and health. Regarding the specific focus of our research, the results showing a stronger link between one's self and body, beauty, and plastic surgery for Spanish and Italian than for Romanians, seem to be coherent with the degree of diffusion of aesthetic-plastic surgery in the three countries, as ranked in the survey of the statistic above quoted.

They represent supplementary reference points to be used in the interpretation of the results of the following data analysis stages; as such, we will return to them in the Discussion section of this article. The second approach on the data collected through the Self Identification Conceptual Network was aimed at the distribution of participants according to their specific identification category of each participant - an independent variable in our research design.

Thus, we were left with 5 reference categories: body, nature, soul, culture and beauty. Results from the Associative Network. In this section, we present the results from data analysis based on the Associative Network instrument, using as inductors masculine beauty, feminine beauty and aesthetic surgery. For each of the three inductor expressions that we present, the first three groups of results A, B and C concern the second hypothesis - about the indexes generated by the Associative Network, while the fourth D concerns the third hypothesis - about the content and structure of each of the social representations, explored through the statistical method of lexical correspondence analysis.

Social Representations of Masculine Beauty. Stereotyping index. According to the technique's creator de Rosa, , "This calculation is not a measurement applied to each subject, but comes about by dividing the number of "different" words associated by the whole group by the total number of the words associated by the entire group. The stereotyping index values for the three national samples are: Italy: -0,69; Spain: -0,77; Romania: -0, They reveal a low level of stereotyping in all three samples especially among the Romanians , indicating richness in diversifying the dictionary about the masculine beauty.

Polarity index, computed as:. The polarity index values were very similar for all the three samples, showing a positive connotation of the semantic space related to the social representations of masculine beauty for the Italian, Spanish and Romanian subjects: Italy: 0,34; Spain: 0,38; Romania: 0, The values of the index for the three national samples are:. At a first glance at the results of this set of three measures, we can notice a relative homogeneity of the valence of the inductor in the three national groups - as shown by the similar values of the polarity indexes.

Focusing on the differences, we can conclude that the Romanian sample uses the less stereotyped discourse, but also the less "vocal" - the inductor " masculine beauty " has the smaller inductive power. In the Italian sample, we find the opposite: the most stereotyped discourse, but also the higher inductive power - a very rich, yet homogenous, shared discourse. Lexical correspondence analysis.

The results of this method of data analysis carried out using the software T-Lab 6. The correspondence analysis extracted two factors. Defining words active variables , in terms of their contribution to the factor, are presented in the Table 3. We can interpret factor 1 as reflecting the opposition between:. Factor 1 also denotes the clear opposition between two of the levels of our active variable country , respectively Italians on the positive semi-axis and Romanian participants on the negative semi-axis, as described in more detail below.

Defining words, in terms of their contribution to the factor, are presented in the Table 4. The negative semi-axis evokes a more " up-to-date " gender focused perspective on masculine beauty; it's an individualistic view, which, besides descriptive traits man, handsome, dark skin also includes references to less classical, stereotyped connotations, such as " metrosexual " or " sensual ", - with the contribution of Female and participants who identify themselves with Soul, as illustrative variables - as opposed to the positive semi-axis, which is mostly defined by social connotations of status symbol success and money - mainly expressed by Male participants.

The comments on the "backbone" of the factorial structure presented above can be nuanced by taking into account the contribution of each national sample and the semantic elements strongest associated to it. Overall, the Italian space of associations seems to depict a "classical" view on masculine beauty, with a strict reference to exterior landmark elements - shirt, beard, six pack , and also to the necessary psychological traits that accompany and complete it: arrogance, confidence, vanity, charm, putting it "to work" in the interpersonal realm.

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Taking into account the levels of the illustrative variables with a significant contribution to the factors, we notice that this perspective is close to other three consonant categories of participants: males , students of Sports faculty, participants who tend to identify more with the body as a reference, but also with beauty. In the Romanian sample we can observe represented a multiple discourse; on one side, there is a conscious view on the social rewards of masculine beauty - money, success, women, TV , but also on its supplementary musts-haves attitude, clothing, talk, elegance.

On the other, there is also a critique of the same social conditioning of masculine beauty: idiot, superficial, passing. The illustrative variables associated with this discourse are the identification with nature and soul , as opposites of the social fabric, which contaminates beauty. Finally, the connection to nature as an identity reference also underlines another definition of masculine beauty, as a "return to basics", in terms of body, young and special. The specific trait of the Spanish discourse is its high saturation in exterior bodily characteristics: dark skin, tall, body, back , with a clear aesthetic perspective - attractive, sensual, and handsome.

We could interpret it as being a definition of a stereotyped and romanticized modern male the term man is also present , with appealing qualities especially to the females as an identification referent , and to those with a stronger identification with soul. Social Representations of Feminine Beauty.

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Polarity index - The polarity index values were very similar and positively connotated for all the three samples, also for the social representations of feminine beauty, as we have already showed for the masculine beauty: Italy: 0,31; Spain: 0,33; Romania: 0, As in the case of the previous inductor, the three polarity indexes of "feminine beauty" are practically equivalent. The other two sets of results show that the Italian sample used the most stereotyped discourse, but also the most "vocal", in the sense of evoking the most numerous associations per participant, as revealed by the high inductive power of the stimulus, while the Romanian sample had the smallest inductive power, and a stereotyping index similar to the Spanish sample.

The results of this method of data analysis are presented in Figure 5. As before, participants' country was employed as active variable depicted in Capital Letters in the correspondence analysis, while the other independent variables of our research were used as illustrative variables depicted in Square Symbols. Defining words, in terms of their contribution to the factor, are presented in the Table 5.

The opposition which characterizes factor 1 could be synthesized again as between:.

heparcavawa.ga Also in this case, similar to Masculine Beauty, factor 1 denotes the opposition between two of the levels of our active variable country , namely between participants in the study from Italy and Romania, as described below. The negative semi-axis also associated to the Spanish sample of this factor seems to be centered on a combination of another set of feminine woman bodily focus points skin, breasts, eyes , and personality traits sincere, intelligence , significantly expressed by Females and those who identify themselves with Soul, as opposed to the two gender independent characteristics which define the positive semi-axis youth, success , expressed on the positive semi-axis mainly by Males and those who identify themselves with Body.

The following step of interpretation is, as before, the in-depth analysis of the semantic and illustrative variables spaces of the discourses produced by participants distinctively for each national sample. Overall, the Italian perspective is characterized by a double discourse on the same topic: beauty traits.


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On one side, we can extract a clear descriptive physical discourse physical, feet, face, posture, hair, hands, gym , without any evaluative dimension. On the other, there is a conscious view of the interpersonal nature of beauty, centered on the elements which serve as a vehicle towards the perceiver - glance, charm, provoking, voice, sensuality, sweet, sensitive and, maybe, also stupid to complete the feminine attractiveness norm - and his emotional reactions to feminine beauty - joy, envy.


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  5. Taking into account the significant illustrative variables, one can notice that this complex view is shared mostly by those with the highest identification with beauty as a cultural referent, and is a product, mostly, of male participants. Again, the Romanian discourse is not at all semantically homogeneous, presenting a mixed view, with references to:. The discourse on masculine beauty produced by Spanish participants contains, on one side, an extensive set of gender dependent physical characteristics - stereotypically positively marked - tall, breasts, tan, lips, slim, blonde, skin - assumed also by the female participants as significant illustrative variable.

    On the other, we notice a personality based definition , based on enduring traits - sincere, delicate , some of them with a feminist root: force, grace , even woman. This split view is shared also by those with a stronger identity association to soul. Table 6. Social Representations of Aesthetic Surgery. Italy: -0,64; Spain: -0,72; Romania: -0,61; differentiating the three national groups more than in the case of the masculine and feminine beauty representations.

    Polarity index values were: Italy: -0,23; Spain: -0,05; Romania: -0,24; showing for all the three countries a slightly negative polarity, almost close to the neutral zone for the Spanish participants. Synthesizing the three results presented above, we notice that the Italian discourse has the same level of stereotyping and negativity as the Romanian discourse, but once again is the most "vocal" of all three.

    The Spanish discourse is the least stereotyped and emotionally polarized, while for the Romanian sample, aesthetic surgery as inductor had the weakest inductive power, but the strongest negative valence. The results of this method of data analysis are presented in Figure 6.