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Readings on Race & Beauty

The following discussion of readings about race and beauty took
place on WMST-L in February 2001.  For additional WMST-L files now
available on the Web, see the WMST-L File Collection.
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2001 15:08:15 -0800
From: Sally Markowitz <smarkowi @ WILLAMETTE.EDU>
Subject: Re: Readings on race and beauty
I'm putting together a list of interesting readings, from any discipline,
about race and beauty for a class I'm teaching. Any suggestions?


smarkowi  @  willamette.edu

Sally Markowitz * Department of Philosophy * Willamette University *
        Salem, OR 97301 * 503-370-6428
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001 00:25:16 +0100
From: Semira Dallali <vidabo @ WANADOO.NL>
Subject: Re: Readings on race and beauty
-Black looks, race and representation by bell hooks
-Skin Deep, Women Writing on Color, Culture and Identity edited
by Elena Featherston

Semira Dallali
vidabo  @  wanadoo.nl
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2001 18:35:13 -0500
From: Victoria Pasley <vpasley @ HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: Readings on race and beauty
Rooks, Noliwe M. Hair Raising: Beauty, Culture, and African American Women
(Rutgers 1996)

I would be interested to hear feed back from anyone who has used this book.

Victoria Pasley
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2001 18:33:45 -0600
From: Rebecca Walsh <rawalsh @ FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU>
Subject: Re: Readings on race and beauty
If you're interested in some shorter pieces...

Alice Walker, "Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self" from In Search of
Our Mother's Gardens

There is also short but great essay by Marcia Ann Gillespie called "Mirror
Mirror," originally published in Essence, Jan 1993, and is reprinted in
Rose Weitz's edited collection The Politics of Women's Bodies (Oxford
1998).  Critiques the white aesthetic and the dominance of the "who's the
fairest" Cinderella narrative.

For body image issues, check out:
Becky Thompson's "A Way Outa No Way: Eating Problems Among
African-American, Latina, and White Women,"  in Gender & Society, vol 6, no
4, Dec 1992 and rpt in Estelle Disch Reconstructing Gender (Mayfield
1997).  I believe this essay touches on part of what she covers in her
recent book-length project A Hunger So Wide and So Deep: A Multiracial View
of Women's Eating Problems (Minnesota 1997).

Rebecca Walsh
Department of English
Women's Studies Program
rawalsh  @  facstaff.wisc.edu
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2001 16:58:55 -0800
From: Denise L. Johnson <dlj @ u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: Readings on race and beauty
You might also want to consider the book (or select chapters from) "The
Beauty Myth" by Naomi Wolf, although it's written for a more mainstream

Denise Johnson
Graduate Student
Department of Sociology
University of Washington
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001 09:42:57 -0500
From: Deborah M. Mix <mix @ PILOT.MSU.EDU>
Subject: Readings on Race & Beauty
    If you're interested in poetry at all, I'd recommend checking
out Harryette Mullen's _trimmings_.  Mullen works with Stein's
_Tender Buttons_ as a kind of foundational text but explains that she
wants to complicate Stein's meditations on "pink and white"
femininity by adding a discussion of race.

Have fun,

Debbie Mix
Visiting Assistant Professor
Dept. of American Thought & Language
Michigan State University
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001 10:22:01 -0500
From: Anna Silver <silver_ak @ MERCER.EDU>
Subject: Re: Readings on race and beauty
I would suggest two articles in the collection *The Politics of
Women's Bodies:  Sexuality, Appearance, and Behavior*, ed. Rose Weitz
(Oxford):  Eugenia Kaw, "Medicalization of Racial Features:
Asian-American Women and Cosmetic Surgery" and Marcia Ann Gillespie,
"Mirror Mirror" (which teaches  well in conjunction with Morrison's
*The Bluest Eye*).  Also, bell hooks's  essay "Straightening Our Hair"
is  excellent. There's a recent *Essence* magazine that  focuses on
African American women and hair; I think it's last August or
September's issue.  I recently showed a film entitled *Nappy* which
sparked some good discussions about hair straightening. Finally, I'd
suggest Elizabeth Haiken's *Venus Envy* which discusses plastic
surgery and the erasure of ethnicity, esp. for Jewish and Italian

Anya Silver

Dr. Anya Krugovoy Silver
Assistant Professor of English and Interdisciplinary Studies
Director of Women's and Gender Studies
Mercer University
1400 Coleman Ave.        "Tell me, what is it you plan to do
Macon, GA 31207-0001        with your one wild and precious life?"
(912) 752-5641                                   --Mary Oliver
silver_ak  @  mercer.edu
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001 10:05:29 -0800
From: Barbara Watson <mbwatson @ MAIL.SDSU.EDU>
Subject: race and beauty
Boone's research in Sierra Leone could be a possible source for a class on
race and beauty:

Sylvia Ardyn Boone. 1986. Radiance from the Waters. Ideals of Feminine
Beauty in Mende Art. Yale University Press.

barbara watson
Maria-Barbara Watson-Franke, Ph.D.
Department of Women's Studies
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182
mbwatson  @  mail.sdsu.edu
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 18:43:43 -0000
From: Pippa <purplestar @ UKONLINE.CO.UK>
Subject: Re: Readings on race and beauty
" THe Forbidden Body" by Shelley Bovey is good about
perceptions of beauty with relation to size.

pippa purplestar  @  ukonline.co.uk


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