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Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women Hardcover – April 18, 2017

4.6 out of 5 stars 86 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


“Girls learn that how they look is more important than who they are—the essential symptom of beauty sickness.’ But Engeln doesn’t stop at diagnosis: she offers the possibility of a cure.” (Peggy Orenstein, New York Times bestselling author of Girls & Sex)

“Her solid ideas...will help women think positively about themselves regardless of body shape. Thorough research and helpful personal stories effectively relay the dilemma that nearly all women face on a daily basis.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“[Beauty Sick] will blow the top off the body image movement…provocative and necessary.” (Rebellious Magazine)

“Renee Engeln...argues that our obsession with women’s looks amounts to a society-wide psychological illness...The book indicts social and news media in helping to create beauty sickness by drawing on research and interviews with real-world girls and women.” (Pacific Standard)

“[P]rofessor Engeln’s sharp examination of beauty sickness reveals its disturbing impact on women of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds...Engeln’s writing is engaging and conversational...Engeln’s book is thought provoking and will be fascinating for all readers, especially those interested in psychology, cultural studies, media, or gender studies.” (Booklist (starred review))

“Inspiring.” (-- PureWow)

“Info-packed...highly readable...” (Elle)

“Beauty Sick is the title of Engeln’s new book, which has more than 350 pages of exhaustive research, interviews, and analysis into the set of contradictions that inform the reality of millions of women’s lives.” (The Times (London))

From the Back Cover

We live in a beauty-sick world that teaches women to believe beauty matters most. Let’s change that.

Today’s girls and women embody a bewildering set of contradictions. They don’t want to be Barbie dolls, but, like generations before them, feel pressure to look like them. They’re angry about the media’s treatment of women, but often consume the very outlets that belittle them. They mock our culture’s absurd beauty ideals and make videos exposing Photoshopping tricks, but emulate the same images they reject. They critique social media for presenting a false reality, but still download apps to airbrush their selfies. Simply put, a beauty-sick culture leaves too many of today’s women at risk.

Yet many of these same women are eager for a way to step away from the mirror—eager for a way forward. In Beauty Sick, Renee Engeln, PhD, provides invaluable motivation and workable solutions for women to embrace their whole selves, claim the futures they deserve, and, ultimately, change the very world that made them beauty sick in the first place. 

Beauty Sick reveals the shocking consequences of our culture’s obsession with appearance on girls’ and women’s emotional and physical health, their wallets, and their ambitions. Those consequences include depression, eating disorders, disruptions in cognitive processing, and wasted time and money. Engeln also addresses how media campaigns that champion the “everyone is beautiful in their own way” mentality can be surprisingly damaging. Beauty Sick sparks an overdue conversation among women of all ages living in today’s appearance-obsessed world. Weaving in scientific studies with real women’s stories and experiences, Engeln shares how small changes in how we think and talk about ourselves and other women can pave a pathway out of beauty sickness and leave women even more ready to fight the battles our world needs them to fight.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.29 pounds
  • Hardcover : 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0062469770
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0062469779
  • Publisher : Harper (April 18, 2017)
  • Product Dimensions : 6 x 1.25 x 9 inches
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 86 ratings

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