Beauty Around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia

Front Cover

Is beauty ever more than "skin deep"? Arguably yes, considering that the concept of beauty--and the pursuit of it--has shaped cultures worldwide, across every time period, and has even served to change the course of history. Studying beauty practices yields insight into social status, wealth, political ideology, religious doctrine, and gender expectations, including gender nonconformity. A truly interdisciplinary text, Beauty around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia presents an insightful perspective on beauty that draws from philosophy, literature, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and feminist studies, giving readers a unique view of world beauty practices.

This volume offers information about beauty practices from the past to the present in alphabetical entries that address terms and topics such as "beards," "dreadlocks," "Geisha," "moko tattoos," and "progressive muscularity." Readers will better comprehend how beauty shapes many social interactions in profound ways worldwide, and that the unspoken social agreements that shape ideals of attractiveness and desirability within any given culture can matter very much. The encyclopedia's entries challenge readers to consider the questions "What is beauty?" and "Why does it matter?" A comprehensive bibliography is a valuable resource for further research.

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About the author (2017)

Erin Kenny, PhD, is associate professor of anthropology at Drury University in Springfield, MO, where she directs the Women and Gender Studies program.

Elizabeth Gackstetter Nichols, PhD, is professor of Spanish at Drury University in Springfield, MO.

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