Structural injustice and the requirements of beauty

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In this paper I consider whether structural injustice can capture the harms of the beauty ideal and recognize their significance. This is done in three sections. In Section 2, I set out the rising costs and harms which attach to beauty engagement in an increasingly visual and virtual culture. In Section 2.1, I outline how beauty harms are typically understood. In Sections 2.2 and 2.3, I argue that there are two communal or shared harms which are not easy to capture on individual models: first that more is required to meet minimal appearance standards; and second body image anxiety. In Section 2.4, in order to give an accurate account, I highlight beauty benefits. In Section 2.5, I show that increasingly the demands fall across genders. In Section 3, I apply Iris Marion Young’s account of structural injustice to beauty. In Section 3.1, I set out the three core features of structural injustice. In the following three sections, Sections 3.2–3.4, 3.2–3.4, 3.2–3.4, I show beauty harms have the features of structural injustice. In Section 4, I consider two benefits of this approach and one challenge to it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-269
JournalThe Journal of Social Philosophy
Issue number2
Early online date1 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Feb 2021


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