Ugly: Giving us back our beauty standards
by Anita Bhagwandas
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Pub Date 25 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 25 May 2024
We've all had those moments. The ones where you look in the mirror and nothing feels ok. For Anita Bhagwandas, this started when she was a child and it created an enduring internal torment about her looks.
We're all told that this is just part of growing up, but it stays with us, evolving as we age. The internet tells us we should love ourselves, whilst bombarding us with images of airbrushed perfection, upholding centuries-old beauty standards which we can't always see. Our beauty rituals are so often based around things we think we need to fix, grow and develop - sometimes tipping into dangerous obsession.
So, what seismic shift does it take to break free from this mentality? In Ugly, Anita uncovers where these beauty standards started, unpicks why they've been perpetuated and unmasks the structures that continue to support them. From the ever-growing cosmetic surgery industry, to the hidden pitfalls of 'pretty privilege', it is time to finally break free from those limiting beauty standards, because feeling ugly should have nothing to do with how we look, and everything to do with who wants us to feel lacking.
'Anita's deep dive into beauty, its history and the pressure to look "perfect" is essential reading' - Caroline Hirons
'A bold, beautiful undertaking - this book unravels what we think we know about beauty, both in how we view ourselves and others. Anita's thorough research, lived in experience and brilliant prose makes it a must read for anyone struggling to find their place in the world.' - Poorna Bell
Ugly is not only a must read, it's an urgent read. [...] This book is the real deal - taking over from where Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth left off. - Farrah Storr, Things Worth Knowing newsletter
[Ugly is one] of the best releases of 2023 - Glamour
UGLY is provocative, powerful, and will challenge everything you thought you knew about beauty standards. I'm so grateful for Anita Bhagwandas's work - Virginia Sole-Smith, author of THE EATING INSTINCT and FAT TALK
'A brilliant and necessary book. Anita combines memoir with analysis to dissect the ways in which notions of beauty are subverted to subjugate and undermine. Anyone who has ever worried about their looks - and that's pretty much every girl and woman - should read this to understand the mechanisms driving their sense of inferiority and inflicting the worst social, economic and psychological penalties on people furthest from imposed, Barbified ideals.' - Catherine Mayer, founder of Women's Equality Party