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Heather Widdows

A Duty To Be Beautiful?

Hay Festival 2018, 

It’s not surprising that how we look matters in an increasingly visual and virtual world. Whether you get 'likes' or make a good first impression matters and the pressure to be perfect is something which young men and women increasingly feel. Indeed body dissatisfaction and anxiety are so prevalent that we regard them as normal. The extent of such anxiety is in part explained by recognising the ethical nature of the beauty ideal. Individuals increasingly judge themselves and others according to whether they measure up in the beauty stakes, and feel like failures if they do not. The University of Birmingham’s John Ferguson Professor of Global Ethics explores the ethical nature of the beauty ideal to make sense of why such feelings run so deep.