Showing posts from July, 2017

Taking “inner beauty” seriously

The term, ‘inner beauty’, typically elicits eye-rolling scorn. A beautiful character, it is implied, is a polite substitute for having an attractive body, a sort of aesthetic consolation prize. Indeed, applying aesthetic terms to ‘inner’ qualities, as when we talk of a person’s ‘lovely personality’, is often a kiss of death. Beauty proper , so goes the thought, is located in the body, ideally in a smooth, trimmed, tanned, toned body, cosmeticized and sexualised, obedient to the demands of the beauty industry. To talk of inner beauty, of a sort unavailable for adornment, commercialisation, or erotic gratification, falls out of the picture. Such attitudes to inner beauty, sceptical or sneering, would dismay, but not surprise, those familiar with venerable discourses of beauty that connect body, virtue, and soul or character. Plato, Confucius, and the Buddha all acknowledged the immediacy of bodily beauty, but also recognised and esteemed a further mode of beauty – the Platonic ‘beaut

Why ‘Body Image’ needs a makeover!

Discussion surrounding body image in Western societies, both within academic literature and indeed wider social discourses has vastly increased over the last 20 years. From its foundational roots investigating the disordered eating practices of young females, ‘body image’ is now widely understood as a multidimensional concept, incorporating attitudinal, perceptual, cognitive and affective elements (Roy & Payette, 2012). As a result, literature surrounding body image spans multiple disciplines, highlighting the complexity of gaining insight into this universal aspect of the embodied state – an image of the body you have. Even so, with evidence suggesting female body dissatisfaction has decreased over time (Karazsia, Murnen, & Tylka, 2017), it seems the multitude of research informing social understanding and interventions addressing alarming rates of body image dissatisfaction (BID), have been successful. Foundation or concealer?  Photo by Heidi Uusitorppa (Image modified

You’ll need balls to use it: Scrotox and men’s body image

Botox releases neuropeptides which help to reduce inflammation and chronic pain in the surrounding area. Doctors inject Botox into patients’ scrotums (Scrotox) when they fail to respond to surgery on the spermatic cord and chronic scrotal pain persists (Khambati, Gordon & Jarvi, 2014). Several tabloid newspapers reported the rise of the non-medical use of Scrotox at the end of 2016. Some men are reported to be paying up to £3000 for the injection to reduce scrotum wrinkles, to make the scrotum appear larger, reduce sweating, and increase the size of the scrotum to aid sexual pleasure (London, 2016). Arguably, this is just another aspect of men’s increasing concern with their body image. Today’s men are less limited than previous generations and do things that their fathers would have baulked at, including spending lots of time and money on ‘grooming’ products and services. For example, shaving-related products (razors, gels, creams, oils, balms), to scalp-hair produ

Ask a Psychologist

As I boarded a train last weekend I picked up a couple of discarded celebrity magazines left by previous passengers. As I don’t tend to buy these magazines, I was interested to see what the content could tell me. The first magazine I picked up was Closer. Closer describes itself as “Combining the news, gossip and glamour of the celebrity world with extraordinary and compelling real-life content, Closer connects with its reader by getting to the very heart of every story.”   The cover was a potpourri of images and headlines promising the reader insights into a brave 26 year old. “ I look 50 but my saggy skin is beautiful”; a daughter describing her mother as “selfish and insane to have a child at 54” , Abi who loves her curves and Kristina who states “my shape’s changed forever” . Inside the magazine, images of Daniella Westbrook, under the heading “Celeb nip/tuck” , show images of pre-and post-7 hour face lift operation which she claims was necessary because “trolls for