Re: BOOKS: Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty

Kathryn Aegis (
Thu, 09 Sep 1999 07:21:22

Robert Bradbury writes:
>I *have not* read the book (only the abstract in Science News).
>I have glanced at the reviews on and they have
>a very wide range (which I would guess implies some very
>controversial material).

There is some very interesting thinking about beauty published recently, and all of it stirs 'controversy', because it compels us to actually think about how we treat others and why! I have been keeping up with some studies on the topic and am glad to see an actual book with a scientific slant. Cultural notions of beauty is a highly relevant transhumanist topic, because as we move into more sophisticated technologies of body modification those notions will be either challenged or reinforced.

Other books on beauty: Also just published--_The Mass Market Woman_, which discusses Western beauty ideals and how some men and women seek cosmetic surgery to conform to those ideals rather than to explore their individual creativity. I heard an interview with the author on NPR last week. Naomi Wolf's _The Beauty Myth_, an excellent book which deconstructs the very idea of female beauty as a cultural tool of sex role enforcement. And, Paula Begoun's series _Don't go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me_, uses chemistry and science to attack bogus cosmetics claims and to talk about what skin care products actually do work. She has become wildly popular on the Internet and on television, a good example of science going mainstream.

Take care,
Kathryn Aegis