Face Value

Genre: Social Science

Face ValueThe Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women's Lives

A thought-provoking examination of how we think and talk about beauty today—and the unexpected and often positive ways that beauty shapes our lives.For decades, we’ve discussed our insecurities in the face of idealized, retouched, impossibly perfect images. We’ve worried primping and preening are a distraction and a trap. But have we focused too much on beauty’s negative influence?In Face Value, journalist Autumn Whitefield-Madrano thoughtfully examines the relationship between appearance and science, social media, sex, friendship, language, and advertising to show how beauty actually affects us day to day. Through meticulous research and interviews with dozens of women across all walks of life, she reveals surprising findings, like that wearing makeup can actually relax you, that you can convince people you’re better looking just by tweaking your personality, and the ways beauty can be a powerful tool of connection among women.Equal parts social commentary, cultural analysis, careful investigation, and powerful personal anecdotes, Face Value is provocative and empowering—and a great conversation starter for women everywhere.

Unabridged recording:
Run time: 10 hours
Media Options:
  • Retail Trade: CD, Download, MP3-CD
  • Library Editions: CD

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Author
Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

Biography:
Autumn Whitefield-Madrano’s background in consumer magazines echoes the arc of her blog, The Beheld: After moving to New York after graduating from University of Oregon to intern at Ms. magazine, she brought her feminist sensibility to mainstream women’s and teen magazines. Her 12-plus years as a writer and copy editor for publications ranging from Glamour to Playboy kept a constant tickle going in her mind: What role does appearance play in the totality of a woman’s life? In 2011, she started a blog devoted to that topic. The-beheld.com examines beauty and personal appearance from a personal, sociological, cultural, and critical standpoint, using essays, long-form interviews, and news roundups to illustrate the issues that swirl around why we look the way we do—and how we look at ourselves and others. Within three months of its launch, the-beheld.com had been linked to by sites as diverse as Jezebel and The Wall Street Journal Ideas Market. Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast took notice, as did editors of The Hairpin, Refinery 29, and the New York Times Bits blog. In February 2012, The Beheld was picked up for syndication with The New Inquiry, a journal of cultural criticism. In addition to writing personal essays for Ms., Salon, Marie Claire, and Glamour, Whitefield-Madrano has been published in The Huffington Post, Jezebel, and Feministe, among others. Her month-long “mirror fast” has been widely covered, most notably with a live segment on the Today show in August 2012 and an article in The New York Times. Internationally, the project has been profiled everywhere from The Guardian and Grazia to Glamour France, and Whitefield-Madrano has appeared on national television shows in Brazil (Fantástico), Australia (Sunrise), and Britain (Lorraine) to talk about her work; she appeared again on Today in early 2013 to discuss childhood obesity. She has been a featured speaker for university and cultural groups on her experiences navigating the world of beauty.
Narrator
Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

Biography:
Autumn Whitefield-Madrano’s background in consumer magazines echoes the arc of her blog, The Beheld: After moving to New York after graduating from University of Oregon to intern at Ms. magazine, she brought her feminist sensibility to mainstream women’s and teen magazines. Her 12-plus years as a writer and copy editor for publications ranging from Glamour to Playboy kept a constant tickle going in her mind: What role does appearance play in the totality of a woman’s life? In 2011, she started a blog devoted to that topic. The-beheld.com examines beauty and personal appearance from a personal, sociological, cultural, and critical standpoint, using essays, long-form interviews, and news roundups to illustrate the issues that swirl around why we look the way we do—and how we look at ourselves and others. Within three months of its launch, the-beheld.com had been linked to by sites as diverse as Jezebel and The Wall Street Journal Ideas Market. Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast took notice, as did editors of The Hairpin, Refinery 29, and the New York Times Bits blog. In February 2012, The Beheld was picked up for syndication with The New Inquiry, a journal of cultural criticism. In addition to writing personal essays for Ms., Salon, Marie Claire, and Glamour, Whitefield-Madrano has been published in The Huffington Post, Jezebel, and Feministe, among others. Her month-long “mirror fast” has been widely covered, most notably with a live segment on the Today show in August 2012 and an article in The New York Times. Internationally, the project has been profiled everywhere from The Guardian and Grazia to Glamour France, and Whitefield-Madrano has appeared on national television shows in Brazil (Fantástico), Australia (Sunrise), and Britain (Lorraine) to talk about her work; she appeared again on Today in early 2013 to discuss childhood obesity. She has been a featured speaker for university and cultural groups on her experiences navigating the world of beauty.

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