Physical distraction

June 14, 2018

Having read Heather Widdows’ book Perfect Me: Beauty as an 
Ethical Idea, I was disappointed that the news article discussing it (“Beauty is now an ethical ideal”, 24 May) focused on the author’s appearance in its standfirst (“Matthew Reisz talks to a philosopher using ‘paint, powder, leather and heels’ to ‘unsettle status quo’’) and in its first four paragraphs, rather than on the book’s substance.

Widdows does, I grant, say those things – but all within the first two pages of the acknowledgements. Women continue to suffer from the fact that many men find their appearance to be their most interesting feature; indeed, how much they suffer from that is one of the things that Widdows’ book establishes. It is a pity that this article continues that trend.

Helen Beebee
Professor of philosophy
University of Manchester


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