Its Fashion Flash Monday! by Deb Chase

Fashion Flash logoThis week Mirabai of Moving Free with Mirabai is hosting Fashion Flash. Check out  our experts on fashion, beauty, health and fitness. And don’t forget to click  through Moving Free With Mirabai  for great  exercise tips to prevent winter time weight gain!

 

 

Fashion Flash Book ReviewFashion Flash Book Review:  Inventing Beauty by Tersea Riordan

I have to admit that I am a beauty history wonk.  I am fascinated by the  search for beauty–  who invented it,  how it works and  how it had evolved to current practices. When I  found  a copy  of Inventing Beauty, I could not wait to get home to curl up with a cup of tea and dive in.  University libraries have academic  texts and original publications, but here was a chance to add a info – packed guide to my very own bookshelf.

Teresa Riordan  was the tech and patant reporter for the New York Times and  thanks  to several grants she  was able to spend  several years meticulously researching  the origins of  fashion and beauty developments at academic libraries in numerous institutions including Harvad, MIT, and the medical library at NIH. But with all this fire power, Inventing Beauty  does not live  up to its promise.

A  Missed Opportunity

I was so excited to  have a well researched book on beauty that I  skipped the inroduction and  jumped into the chapter on the development of eye make-up, a special interest of mine.   While the data and diagrams  were  rich and extensive, there was a strange sense of disengagement.  Rather than a passion for the subject, the author seemed to  be mocking women for  their  willingness to  try out new  beauty products.  I decided to  back track and read the inroduction to get a better sense of the goals of the book.

As it turned out   the author described herself as a feminist  whose original premise for the book  was that  men had created the beauty industry and products  that exploited women.  Even  when her years of research  showed that  many if not most beauty devleopments were made by women for women, she found it very hard to embrace  the  advances in beauty and fashion.  Inventing Beauty is a strong reference guide for  19th century beauty patents,  but I wish the author  had more respect for the topic.

 

 

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