Beauty Is the Beast: Appearance-Impaired Children in America by Ann Hill Beuf

By Ann Hill Beuf

Examines the stigmatism of kids who deviate from appropriate American criteria for actual visual appeal. Beuf analyzes either the consequences of this stigmatization on young children and the techniques used to deal with it.

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Extra info for Beauty Is the Beast: Appearance-Impaired Children in America

Sample text

While I attempt in this book to isolate the effects of impaired appearance alone, we must not forget that, in many instances, appearance impairment is associated with pain and dysfunction. These are certainly deficits when it comes to coping, as they may interfere with the child's ability to develop a sense of personal competency and effectiveness, and in general may drain the child's stamina and energy and contribute to feelings of depression or withdrawal. Psychological Resources Children's humor, self-esteem, intelligence, creativity, and enthusiasm are all important weapons in the arsenal against despair.

In Australia, the full-figured, Sophia Loren image prevails in the Italian communities, the fair-haired, thin Anglo in the British groups, and, for both of these, there  < previous page < previous page page_31 page_32 next page > next page > Page 32 is also the Aboriginal notion of correct appearance. However, this diversity need not necessarily imply a greater tolerance for impaired appearance. Universality of Definitions In addition we must consider how well-published and accepted the definitions of "normal" and "beautiful" are in the society.

However, in a society such as that of the high-ranking castes of nineteenth-century India, the bride's unblemished beauty was very important, and a scar or skin lesion was enough for the groom's family to call off the betrothal. In Western culture, most marriages are based on romantic choice and appearance is of great importance. There are also within-society differences that tend to magnify or diminish the attention given impaired appearance. Ugliness is rarer in the upper classes that can usually afford to repair itor may even possess sufficient power to redefine "beauty" in a way more favorable to its own members.

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