chapter
Introduction
Pages 12

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts of the subsequent chapters covered in this book. This book examines the role beauty plays in creating structural and individual privilege, as well as contributing to discrimination and inequality. It analyzes how three different societies, the US, India, and China, with very different histories and geopolitical contexts, understand and reproduce female bodies, femininity, and beauty in the context of global capitalism and transnational consumer culture. The book investigates how beauty pageants consolidate a global beauty ideal, which exhibits hybridity in some superficial forms and discuss the crucial role of beauty and gendered ideologies in producing and reproducing nations. It examines how an idealization of whiteness and its conflation with modern woman has produced an alarming increase in the proliferation and use of skin-lightening products and treatments in India. It also examines the key role of beauty pageants in India in normalizing ideas of fair skin as beautiful.