The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

The bestselling classic that redefined our view of the relationship between beauty and female identity. In today's world, women have more power, legal recognition, and professional success than ever before. Alongside the evident progress of the women's movement, however, writer and journalist Naomi Wolf is troubled by a different kind of social control, which, she argues, may prove just as restrictive as the traditional image of homemaker and wif...

Details The Beauty Myth

TitleThe Beauty Myth
Release DateSep 24th, 2002
PublisherHarper Perennial
GenreFeminism, Nonfiction, Sociology, Psychology

Reviews The Beauty Myth

  • Crystal Starr Light
    A seminal feminist work, "The Beauty Myth" digs into the ways that the pursuit of beauty has hampered feminism. How many women rush to pursue the next makeup line instead of equal pay for equal work. How many women are in a Catch-22 at work - you must be pretty and feminine, but not TOO pretty and feminine, else it's your fault for sexual harassment! At a time when many are saying there is no need for feminism, Wolf shows that sexism is still ali...
  • Jessica
    I highly recommend it to everyone, not just women. I think is is really important for men to read books like this, too. It is all about how the A) Our modern ideals of beauty are mostly driven by the advertising industry and not intrinsic cultural or biological preferences, and B) How our modern ideals of beauty put women at a disadvantage to men.I have a few disagreements with her, listed below, but I agree with her in general and it's a really ...
  • Lani
    Jesus, I FINALLY finished this book... UGH.I feel like I have been extremely negative about the last few books I've reviewed, so it's a shame that this is the other one I have left to write up. Because those other books were the ones I was reading to avoid this one!Naomi Wolf is exactly the reason I don't read much in the ways of feminist tracts. Blahblahblah male conspiracy blahblahblah. It's a shame because some of her points ARE valid and thou...
  • Ian
    A very popular book in the (relatively) modern feminism movement, I have mixed thoughts on this. It's a book I wanted to like but couldn't.Wolf's basic premise is that "beauty" is an artifical concept that is used systematically to oppress women primarily for political purposes. The book is replete with figures, statistics, citations (a total of 268), and quotes, which are distributed throughout six sections or topics: work, culture, religion, se...
  • Thomas
    A great book about deconstructing the myth of beauty and recognizing how patriarchy emphasizes our appearances to harm us all. Published in 1990, The Beauty Myth came out ahead of its time, as Naomi Wolf rails against the thin ideal, how companies lure women into buying products by making them feel insecure about their bodies, ageism, and so much more. I feel glad that more and more people talk nowadays about the cruelty of beauty standards and h...
  • Alieda
    By the time I had read twenty pages of The Beauty Myth, I realized that this is one of the most important books I will ever read. Admittedly, I was initially skeptical of Wolf's central thesis-- that the cultural "myth" of feminine beauty is a political and economic weapon used by the male-dominated world to undermine women's advancement in society-- but, by the time I had finished reading the first chapter, I had a changed perspective of the wor...
  • El
    I have always been wary of reading this book, even though I knew a lot would resonate with me. A part of me knew that a lot of it, however, would make me cringe. Like - oh, I don't know... the overwrought hyperbolic statements and inaccurate history and data. I picked it up thinking maybe I could just get over some of those mistaken details.God, that was hard.All of that aside, the positive is that there is a lot of good information in this book....
  • Chris
    I probably should not have tried reading Mercedes Lackey’s Fire Rose after reading this book. That novel, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, has a woman as the central character. The woman, Rose, doesn’t realize how beautiful she is and looks down her nose at other women whom she deems to have looks but not brains. Rose has brains (well, she thinks she does) but doesn’t think that she has looks, surprising considering how much effort seem...
  • Ben Babcock
    One of the nice things about writing reviews on a place like Goodreads is the audience. I can pontificate about a book, and about subjects like feminism, for as long as I like, which is something I can’t do with my friends in person—at least, as I discovered empirically, not if I want to have friends in person. (Call me!) But you people, you crazy people, are different, because no one is forcing you to read my reviews, so I am going to assume...
  • Tanja Berg
    Although this book was released in 1991, it is still relevant today. The liberation of women in the sense of getting legal rights as human beings, such as voting rights and access to birth control, lead to a backlash. In order to disempower women, we were made to think we were ugly and inundated with images of what the perfect woman should look like and how to get there. Bulimia and anorexia are still rampant. A woman is still supposed to be wrin...
  • Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
    *Cross-posted on Wordpress and BookLikes. Naomi Wolf does not have a way with words. Dense, vague and ambiguous language; sweeping generalizations; and seeing a deeper meaning or intent where a simpler explanation is more likely and appropriate – which created a conspiratorial air that everyone, or just men, were doing everything they can to oppress women and repress their desires. Frustration had me skimming, and I found myself regularly defen...
  • Nabila Tabassum Chowdhury
    বইটা মূলত আমেরিকা বা পাশচাতযের দেশগুলোর জনয বেশি পরাসঙগিক, যেখানে মেয়েরা ঘর ছেড়ে এসে অনয সব কষেতরে নিজের জায়গা করে নিচছে এবং সেকসুয়াল রেভলযুশনের সুফল ভোগ করেছে। সেখানে ব...
  • Rachel
    This is the second time I've read this book in a two month time period. It's just full of huge ideas. Yes, the author has an agenda, and yes, she comes across a little harsh at times. However, the overall message of this book has changed the way I'll look at my body forever: Love your body because YOU are in it--not the other way around! My belly fat and butt-fat-dimples don't scare me the way they used to. Fat is just a substance--one that our f...
  • Mar
    Este libro es bestial y todo el mundo (especialmente las mujeres) debería leerlo.Subiré una reseña completa pronto porque necesito poner mis pensamientos en orden. Pero es increíble.
  • Ana Rînceanu
    This book provided me with a good second-hand understanding of the role beauty played in the 80s, but I wish I had read it earlier because if you have insight into how advertising works, most of this book will sound familiar. While I do think that the internet has changed how we see beauty, this book was still worth a read as an intro into advertising and body image as seen through a feminist lens.
  • Katie Boyer
    SO glad I read this despite how long it took me (I would read a chapter at a time over a few months basically). Each chapter is focused on a different topic (sex, religion, violence, hunger, etc.). I wish I had taken more notes or highlighted more while actually reading it. Though it was a bit heavy and dense for me at times, it has some really good info and explanations of feelings I have that I have trouble vocalizing or understanding. These pr...
  • Yellow Rose
    According to the author beauty is a myth,I think the authors book is a myth. So much information and literature is published saying quite the contrary in fact that most women want to be beautiful and feminine no matter how much the feminists brainwash them. For scientific knowledge on the subject please read the "Survival of the Prettiest" By Nancy Etcoff.Wolf writes about Work and complains that women work so much that and that now there is a st...
  • Emily
    This book took me forever to get through! My favorite part was how it put into words things I’ve thought or felt but was unable to vocalize. However, it does feel a bit dated, it’s incredibly dense, and I thought some of her generalizations were a bit problematic. I definitely see why this is considered essential reading on the feminist bookshelf, but its density dulled the power of the message for me.
  • Julie Ehlers
    As I have mentioned several times here on Goodreads, I bought this book when it came out in paperback in 1992 and attempted to read it almost immediately. Unfortunately, The Beauty Myth lacked the snap, crackle & pop of Susan Faludi's similarly themed Backlash, which came out around the same time, and which I devoured immediately and then reread several times purely for entertainment value. Although Susan Faludi, like Naomi Wolf, was only in her ...
  • Ceilidh
    I like a lot of what Wolf says, even if she frequently says it in the most overwrought manner possible, but I'm not sure the book completely stands up on its own merit. It's a long book, much longer than the most recent feminist pieces I've read, but for all of Wolf's trumpeting and data quoting, she gets a little conspiratorial at times, then she'll just blame the patriarchy with no further explanation. It got tiring after a while. But it does d...
  • Adriana Scarpin
    Décimo terceiro livro do clube do livro feminista da Emma WatsonOs livros escolhidos por Emma Watson nos últimos meses vem sendo exemplares, com O Conto da Aia e O Mito da Beleza, de livrinhos meia boca ela passou para tiro-porrada-e-bomba. Ainda bem, pois finalmente fui incitada a ler este clássico da Naomi Wolf que toda mulher REALMENTE deveria ler.O Mito da Beleza: neste primeiro capítulo a autora mostra que depois da segunda onda feminist...
  • Ylenia
    #NonFictionNovember 2016: IMPORTANT.✨3.25 stars✨ We do not need to change our bodies, we need to change the rules. I had high hopes for this book.First of all, this is a condensed version of The Beauty Myth which, originally, was something like 380 pages. The version I read is the short and tiny one, barely 120 pages. The original version was also published in 1990: 26 years ago. Me being stupid I thought 1990 was like 6 years ago, because it...
  • Maria
    после каждой такой книги хочется водрузить флаг куда-нибудь - мол, я взошел и герой. впечатления, меж тем, противоречивые. с одной стороны, "миф о красоте", безусловно, произведение для феминистской риторики программное. бодипозитив растет оттуда, ...
  • ayanami
    Good arguments but presented really poorly. The first couple of chapters talk about the beauty myth like a conspiracy, as if there's a group of men holding meetings going "Hmm, how shall we make women feel inferior this time?" Naomi Wolf never clearly identifies "the oppressors" (which I infer from the text that it's a combination of various factors, including social hierarchy, the economy, and so on) though she does mention much later in the boo...
  • Scarlett O.H.
    This book really changed my view of the world. I think every woman should read this book. The ranking of women by an officially approved beauty ideal and the invisibility in the media of all non-standard beautiful women is only getting worse now with social media and the popularity contest that this has turned into!It was a bit hard to get into at first and here in the Netherlands where I live, cosmetic surgery is still not as popular and common ...
  • Heather
    Although it did make me think and it did make some good points, it has so many holes it's not even funny. Wolf focuses almost exclusively on the concerns of middle class white women. How can you talk about the suffering that beauty ideals can cause without talking about how white supremacist beauty ideals hurt women of colour? How can you talk about how beauty ideals affect romantic relationships without talking about queer women? How can you tal...
  • Kaethe
    The brilliance of this book is demonstrating how the patriarchy is self-reinforcing, as well as the price women pay for meeting (or not meeting) the beauty standard. It's a great work of feminism, even if Wolf has since said some really stupid stuff.
  • Sophie
    A tough read! Wolf zooms out to dizzying heights, makes questionable jumps in logic and sweeping generalisations, and the book is badly in need of an update (the chapter on Culture particularly is almost obsolete).That said, looking at history from such height does lay bare patterns you otherwise can't see. And I recognized a lot of the beauty myth's insidious influence in my own life, and feel a little more able to deal with that now. I found th...
  • Dariia Puhach
    По суті, головний посил Вулф - те, як жінки, замість того, щоб нарівні конкурувати в професійній діяльності з чоловіками й включатися в політичну боротьбу, змушені повсякчас дбати про свою "красу". Причому остання - це не просто сексуальна привабли...