Edited by Juanita Elias and Adrienne Roberts
Chapter 34: The global political economy of beauty
This chapter reviews gender scholarship on the globalization of beauty industries, and how it produces or disrupts gendered power among states, economies, industries, and bodies. The chapter reviews feminist scholarship on beauty that shaped debates over its globalization, as well as literatures on globalizing fashion production, beauty consumption, and beauty entrepreneurship. The scholarship reviewed highlights the proliferation of beauty labor, production, commodification, commercialization, and consumption; women’s roles in advancing the global beauty industries as producers, consumers, and entrepreneurs; and how these phenomena intersect with place, state, citizenship, and bodies. The chapter identifies two central debates in the literature, first, over whether the globalization of beauty industries is a reinscription of Western power over women’s bodies, and second, whether the beauty economy is exploitative or empowering to women, its primary workforce and consumer base.
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