Gender Studies | Beauty Matters
G205 | ALL | Peg Brand


Beauty Matters asks provocative questions in order to reveal the
ways gender, race, and sexual orientation have informed the concept
of beauty.  Beauty has captured human interest since before Plato,
but how, why, and to whom does beauty matter in today’s world?
Whose standard of beauty motivates African Americans to straighten
their hair?  What inspires beauty queens to measure up as flawless
objects for the male gaze/ Why does a French performance artist use
cosmetic surgery to remake her face into a composite of the master
painters’ version of beauty?  How does our culture of beauty
perceive the disabled body?  Is the constant effort to remain young
and thin, often at considerable economic and emotional expense,
ethically justifiable?  Provocative questions in aesthetics, the
arts and fashion will be explored in order to reveal the ways
gender, race, and sexual orientation have informed the concept of
beauty.  We will discuss Kant and Calvin Klein, Confucianism and
Chinese foot-binding, Hegel and the adornment of the male body.