Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal

How looking beautiful has become a moral imperative in today’s world


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Feb 25, 2020
6.13 x 9.25 in.
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The demand to be beautiful is increasingly important in today’s visual and virtual culture. Rightly or wrongly, being perfect has become an ethical ideal to live by, and according to which we judge ourselves a success or failure. Perfect Me explores the changing nature of the beauty ideal, showing how it is more dominant, demanding, and global than ever before. Arguing that our perception of the self is changing, Heather Widdows shows that more and more, we locate the self in the body. Nobody is firm enough, thin enough, smooth enough, or buff enough—not without significant effort and cosmetic intervention. To understand these rising demands, we need to recognize their ethical aspect and seek out new communal responses.

Awards and Recognition

  • One of The Atlantic's Best Books of 2018