Cambridge Festival of Ideas - Extreme Measures: How the Thin Ideal Dominated the World

27 October 2018, 17:00 - 18:00
Cambridge campus

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In most socioeconomically developed nations, women experience extreme pressure to be thin. This “thin ideal” is argued to be an important cause of widespread negative body image in women and girls. But when did this thin ideal emerge? And how have different cultures and communities across the globe responded to the thin ideal? In this talk, Professor Viren Swami traces the history of the thin ideal across time and shows how it emerged as a means of impeding women’s movements for greater equality. He also shows how the drive towards extreme thinness is now common across most world regions and, in explanation, argues that Westernisation, globalisation, and modernisation have all contributed to the homogenisation of beauty ideals for women. This has important implications for understanding rates of negative body image across the globe, but Professor Swami will also show how some groups actively challenge the thin ideal.

Viren Swami is Professor of Social Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Anglia Ruskin University and Director of the Centre for Psychological Research at Perdana University. His research is focused on body image and human appearance and, separately, the psychology of conspiracy theories.He is author of Attraction Explained: The Science of How We Form Relationships, The Psychology of Physical Attraction and The Missing Arms of Vénus de Milo, and has authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed papers

This event is part of Cambridge Festival of Ideas.

Event Details

27 October 2018, 17:00 - 18:00
Cambridge campus
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