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Zeavin, L. (2005). Extreme Beauty. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 6(1):63-76.

(2005). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 6(1):63-76

Extreme Beauty

Lynne Zeavin, Psy.D

The author reviews two exhibitions that showed in New York City over the winter of 2001—“Extreme Beauty,” which was produced by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Irving Penn's “Earthly Bodies,” also at the Met. Using a tale by Hawthorne as the backdrop, the author explores the ways in which social conventions of beauty and fashion dovetail with our own underlying wishes for perfection. She examines how such wishes inform not only fashion choices but also more radical decisions about the body as well. Embedded in this interplay of fashion and desire is a core of longing and hatred that the author seeks to expose.

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