Thursday, September 17, 2009

The World Has Curves 9/17

Carly Yuenger

On today's show we interrogate the notion of female beauty and the perfect female body. It's different depending on where you grow up in the world, but there may be things that are universal across all the world's notions of the ideal female form.

For one, the notion of beauty in your community and culture is always a powerful idea. While men are not safe from its influence, women around the world, it seems, are particulary pressured to attain the ideal.

Our guest today, Julia Savacool, who has worked in the magazine business for years, discusses her new book, The World Has Curves: The Global Quest for the Perfect Body. In it she documents what women do and go through around the world to attain beauty in form. She also shows what cultural notions of female beauty have in common: it's always an ideal that is tightly tied to issues of socio-economic class. The female body, she argues, is a status symbol for wealth and prosperity.

What do you think? Who decides what is beautiful? What things determine what a commuity decides is beautiful? What determines what our bodies look like, anyway? Are notions of beauty tied to class? Are women complicit in the hegemonic power of the ideal body? Share your thoughts and stories by adding a comment below.

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