Age-orexia and norms of appearance

Very interesting article here, in which Christa D’Souza reflects on attitudes to ageing.

Particularly interesting is the comment, from Alex Shulman, editor of British Vogue, on her decision to opt out of the scrabble for botox and skin peels: ‘Isn’t being in a place where you can never win rather depressing?’

There’s evidence of some dodgy cultural essentialism (see Jender’s post, below), and objectifying tendencies, in the claims e.g. that French women ‘like wine, seem to get better with age’… But well worth a read!


Tracy Clark-Flory at Broadsheet discusses the controversy over Richard Gere kissing Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty here. This includes a recent article titled, “The Kiss of Death: Can a Kiss Kill a Civilization?”. This all reminds me of Uma Narayan’s very convincing and important discussions of cultural essentialism (e.g. _Dislocating Cultures_, Routledge 1997). Key questions include: what are these things we call ‘cultures’, and who decides what their essential traits are, such that some changes (often those involving women’s roles and behaviours) supposedly kill cultures, while others don’t?

Stereotypes and sexual harassment

Ann at Feministing has a nice discussion of a really interesting sounding study, which seems to show that sexual harassment (at least in certain settings) is caused more by non-conformity to gender stereotypes than by sexual attraction. This fits most obviously with a stereotype approach to sexual harassment, but can be accommodated by the dominance approach as well (and perhaps by the difference approach, with sufficient care). For more on these approaches, a nice overview can be found in Crouch’s _Thinking About Sexual Harassment_ (OUP 2001).