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Hyde, P.B. Arora, L. (2014). The Beauty Experimental. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 11(1):87-89.

(2014). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 11(1):87-89

The Beauty Experimental Related Papers

Phoebe Baker Hyde and Lily Arora, M.D.

Exploitation of feminine sensibilities by the cosmetic industry and societal pressures on women to aspire to media standards of beauty in order to achieve professional success and attract the opposite sex has been the focus of much research and literary work (e.g. Baker-Sperry & Grauerholz, 2003; Callaghan, 1994; Jeffries, 2005). Phoebe Baker Hyde's The Beauty Experiment represents the second of these two genres. It relates a story of a woman in her mid-thirties who secretly decides to take a break from most beauty rituals for 13 months in order to “learn to love the real me” (book cover). Ms Hyde's work reflects her commitment to exploring her obsession with feminine beauty which she defines by ambiguous standards set up by media advertisements “clothed in riches, infinitely desired, mysterious, glamorous and beautiful beyond compare” (p. 14). In her book, Ms Hyde uses her own personal experience “with beauty craziness” (p. xiii), vague and inconclusive surveys, and references biased towards the masochistic nature of beauty rituals for the purpose of “reading and better understanding many aspects of the female experience” (p. xiii). Ms Hyde explicitly reveals her purpose is not to write as a researcher but as an “essayist and cultural critic” (p. 220).

The book is written with each chapter starting out with a description of the author's life while initiating and conducting her beauty experiment and ends with a clip of her life post-experiment.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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