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Showing posts from January, 2019

Januhairy: Liberation within limits

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Along with ‘Dry January’, ‘RED (run every day) January’ and ‘Veganuary’, ‘Januhairy’ is one of the challenges which comes with the ‘New Year, New You!’ onslaught of how to become a better person. In my last Beauty Demands blog  I commented on the dramatic change which has happened as we see ourselves not as ‘inner’ thinking and doing beings, but as ‘outer’, to-be-looked-at beings. Indeed we have gone so far on this trajectory that a better self now means a better body. In a visual and virtual culture, our bodies are ourselves. Januhairy is a month long challenge which aims to get women to ‘love and accept’ their body hair while raising money for charity. It was launched by students from Exeter University, and has received lots of press, taking off around the world.

In Perfect Me ,I write a lot about body hair. I call body hair ‘the canary in the mine’. It is a very clear example of the normalisation and naturalisation of the modified body. Something which can only happen if an ideal is…

My body, my self?

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Last New Year, I wrote a short piece for The Conversationon how we believe – and often unreflectively – that we are, or will be, better if our bodies are better.
That our bodies have become our very selves in a visual and virtual culture is one of the main arguments of Perfect Me. This is so widely believed that we often don’t recognise either that it is true (until someone points it out) or how surprising and transformative this is. To think that our selves are our bodies is new. New Year’s Resolutions show us very clearly what we value and what matters to us. These are the goals we set for ourselves. We think these things are valuable and having them is important to us. The top New Year’s Resolutions for 2019 again show this focus, with the top three all being aimed at transforming the body:
1. Diet or eat healthier (71%) 2. Exercise more (65%) 3. Lose weight (54%)
The next two are not body related: 4. Save more and spend less (32%) 5. Learn a new skill or hobby (26%)

The fourth is pragmati…