Saturday, April 08, 2023

Seven books about the scam of wellness

Ling Ling Huang is a writer and violinist. She plays with several ensembles, including the Oregon Symphony, Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, ProMusica, Chamber Orchestra, and the Experiential Orchestra, with whom she won a Grammy Award in 2021.

Natural Beauty is her first novel.

At Electric Lit she tagged seven "books that, together, begin to form a clear picture of what wellness is and what it isn’t, who it currently serves, and who it excludes." One title on the list:
Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital by Elise Hu

Hu moves to Seoul as the first-ever Korea and Japan bureau chief for NPR correspondent and takes a deep dive into South Korea’s beauty industry and how it impacts society and women at large. In this astonishingly researched and unputdownable book about topics like the prolific plastic surgery procedures being invented everyday to burgeoning feminist movement, she dissects the myriad ways beauty ideals intersect with geopolitical tensions, class, and societal issues, as well as articulating technology’s part in enabling and accelerating beauty culture. Among the many pressing questions Hu asks: How does beauty intersect with sexist power structures? Who benefits when women expend so much energy enhancing themselves? Where is unchecked consumer beauty culture leading us to? Nowhere in the world are there such clear lines drawn between beauty and social and economic success than in South Korea. Flawless manages to provide an in-depth look at the history of Korea, which very well may be the future for the rest of the world.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue