The workshop took place earlier this month at Warwick University. It considered changing body image and looked at how ‘normal’, ‘healthy’ and ‘perfect’ function as concepts in the beauty debate. For instance, how they function as people perceive themselves and others in terms of what is normal and beautiful, and in terms of what women and girls (and to a lesser extent men) feel is expected of them.
The papers given covered a wide range of topics, including, on choice, on revenge porn, on ‘tanorexia’, on skin-lightening, on feminism and beauty, on cosmetic surgery scandals, and from very different perfectives including, law, psychology, sociology, philosophy and critical theory.
These were the types of issues which were discussed were:
- Whether and how choice or consent is relevant in the debate, for instance, can one ‘freely’ consent to cosmetic procedures or does social construction reduce the very possibility of choice.
- The extent to which such ‘requirements’ are more demanding than in previous generations and over time.
- The connection between these debates and previous feminist debates and the need to return to older discussions.
- The relationship between the philosophical debate and the law and policy debates and how to create not only dialogue between but to use the different debates in ways which might be useful to inform policy and practice intervention.
- Possible pathways to regulation in areas which are little regulated.
- The relationship between health, beauty, sexual attractiveness and identity.