II—No Duty to Resist: Why Individual Resistance Is an Ineffective Response to Dominant Beauty Ideals

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 122 (1):27-46 (2022)
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In this paper I argue that the way to reduce the power of overdemanding beauty ideals is not to advocate that individuals have a ‘duty to resist’, a duty to stop engaging in appearance enhancing practices and body work. I begin by arguing against the claim that women who ‘do’ beauty are suffering from false consciousness. I then give four further additional arguments against advocating a ‘duty to resist’ as an effective means to challenge dominant beauty norms. First, that as a tactic it is ineffective. Second, it is an individual approach which divides and silences. Third, it induces shame and blame, and undermines effective collective action. Fourth, it fails to recognize the privilege of the group norms which make resistance possible.



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Heather Widdows
University of Birmingham

Citations of this work

Criticizing Women: Simone de Beauvoir on Complicity and Bad Faith.Filipa Melo Lopes - forthcoming - In Berislav Marušić & Mark Schroeder (eds.), Analytic Existentialism. Oxford University Press.
Personal Beauty and Personal Agency.Madeline Martin-Seaver - forthcoming - Philosophy Compass:e12953.

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