Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged beauty

Pretty Modern: Beauty, Sex, and Plastic Surgery in Brazil

In this well-crafted ethnography, anthropologist Alexander Edmonds explores narratives and practices surrounding plastic surgery in contemporary Brazil. Cosmetic procedures, or estetica, have been increasing rapidly among the urban populations. Rather than simply lamenting the increase of plastic surgeries in a country famous for embracing the sensual, Edmonds instead explores the reasons why estetica has become so popular across race, class, and gender lines. Examining beauty culture in Brazil from an ethnographic perspective, he suggests in Pretty Modern that it is essential to understand what beauty means and does for differently located social actors.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

In the previous millennium when I was an idealistic young thing attending Barnard College, the women’s college affiliated with Columbia University, there was a lot of talk about who before us had walked the hallowed halls: anthropologist Margaret Mead; writers Edna St. Vincent Millay, Zora Neale Thurston, Francine du Plessix Gray, Patricia Highsmith and Ntozake Shange; recent United States ambassador to the U.N. Jeanne Kirkpatrick; musicians Laurie Anderson and Suzanne Vega (whose song “Luka” was then on all the airwaves); NPR’s Susan Stamberg; nationally syndicated columnist Anna Quindlen; choreographer Twyla Tharp; and a pre-Omnimedia Martha Stewart, whose daughter had also recently attended.

It's Not That I'm Bitter...: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World

Challenging the norms of our modern society and how the feminist movement has evolved into a misfire of sorts (a mix of improvements with unexpected setbacks), Gina Barreca wrote her book It’s Not that I’m Bitter... to share her perspective.

Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism

Shhh, stop and listen for a moment. Listen to the radio, to TV ads, to government policy, to toy stores, to popular magazines, and (OMG) to "science." If you are a fan of equality and freedom of choice, you may want to listen up.

New Moon Girls (The Beauty Issue)

If you’re a parent or a person who interacts with and cares about children, you might have noticed some worrisome trends, especially among girls. I have seen girls as young as seven show concerns over “getting fat” or being unpopular. Bullying, body image conflict, and other issues seem to be plaguing young women earlier and earlier. Most women who call themselves feminists would agree that enriching the younger generation is crucial.

Face It: What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change

As the authors of Face It explain in the preface to their book, women who came of age during and after feminism's second wave were brought up to believe our looks don’t have to define who we are or determine our possibilities. What mattered more in this 'enlightened' new age were our brains, our talents, our degrees, our abilities, and our ambition.

Kissing the Mask: Beauty, Understatement and Femininity in Japanese Noh Theater

Full disclosure: I am an avid fan of William T. Vollmann's work and was excited to read this book. Vollmann often has strange and interesting things to say about women and gender relations, and his notorious interest in prostitutes (who feature prominently in both his fiction and non-fiction) may almost be labeled as an obsession.


In his first few shots, all very wide angles and washed-out greens, Abdullah Oguz shows his cards as an ambitious, technically brilliant filmmaker. In the Anatolian countryside, a flock of sheep turns a slow circle as the camera, peering down on a girl’s body, does the same. A melody—composed by Zülfü Livaneli, who also wrote the book on which this film was based—hums through the valley.

Sins Invalid (10/04/2009)

As a dancer, I feel most alive when I'm present in my body; when I breathe hard, feel the power of my feet on the ground, and sense the weight in my head and arms.

Going Gray: How to Embrace Your Authentic Self With Grace and Style

With predominant silver streaks cropping up in the underside of my dark hair, I have to admit that I was excited to see what this book was all about. I wasn’t disappointed. Kreamer put a lot of effort and research into the work. Bravely, she takes the plunge into letting her natural hair color grow out from the dyed. It takes courage, determination, and much soul reflection along the way. As she grays, she investigates many avenues that relate to the cosmetic industry, including hair coloring, plastic surgery, and advertising.

Margaret Cho’s Beautiful Tour

Margaret Cho’s Beautiful Tour, which began in February 2008, is still scheduled to visit a number of lucky locations throughout the United States. As usual, Cho’s brand of feminist, LGBTQ, activist, and politicized humor was hilarious, raunchy, and thought-provoking. Unlike so much of the comedy gracing television screens lately, Cho continues to infuse her comedy with cutting edge analysis of race, gender, body image, and sexuality.

To Survive

The name Joan Wasser is not well-known to most people, but it should be.