chapter  11
28 Pages

Looking Good: Ideology, Intersectionality, and the Beauty Industry

Our physical appearance is loaded with sociological meaning. Many of us scrutinize our personal “look” on a regular basis, hoping to determine which outfits, products and workout routines will help us look our best. When we ask our students who is attractive, beautiful or simply “hot”, many of the same names pop up-Channing Tatum, Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian. These celebrities are admired for their famous faces and figures around the world. Not everybody can look like a celebrity, but even non-famous people aim to maximize their physical attractiveness. We often feel like our appearance is evaluated on a daily basis. Sometimes those evaluations involve a casual glance on the street; other times they are made explicit in virtual space. The “Hot or Not” website was launched in 2000 as a way for average people to evaluate the hotness of other average people in submitted photos. Many websites that followed-the dating/hook-up website Tinder, Rate your Professor, even the earliest version of Facebook (“Facemash”)—allowed users to evaluate the physical attractiveness of others.