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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Undergraduate Course: Gender and Beauty (PHIL10237)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course covers feminist philosophical debates about beauty and appearance, paying particular attention to how they play out in popular culture, digital media, and everyday experiences.
Course description Beauty is a double-edged sword in feminist philosophy. Practices and ideals of beauty are used to police gender norms that are objectifying and alienating. But seeing oneself as beautiful remains a form of resistance in a society that upholds impossible beauty standards. In this course, we will look at several philosophical debates surrounding beauty and gender and at how they play out in popular culture, digital media and everyday experiences. We will critically examine fashion photoshoots, magazine articles, Youtube videos, and TikTok accounts, alongside contemporary and historical philosophical texts. Themes may include: modelling and objectification; cosmetic surgery and choice; pleasure and fashion; masculinity and body-building; race and representation; and body-positivity and fatphobia; responsibility and beauty harms.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Mind, Matter and Language (PHIL08014) AND Knowledge and Reality (PHIL08017)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Midterm Essay (35%)
Final Essay Proposal (5%)
Essay (50%)
Digital Media Commentary (10%)
Feedback Specific guidance will be given in advance of each assignment. Instructor feedback on essay proposal and digital media commentary will provide formative opportunities ahead of final essay.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Effectively present close and critical analysis of historical and contemporary texts covered in the course.
  2. Present and defend their own reasoned ideas about debates about beauty and gender in feminist philosophy.
  3. Demonstrate their capacity to articulate arguments succinctly and clearly in a written format.
  4. Critically evaluate views on gender and beauty in popular culture and digital media
  5. Participate more meaningfully in larger societal conversations related to gender and beauty.
Reading List
Beauvoir, Simone de. The Second Sex. 1949.
Butler, George and Robert Fiore. Pumping Iron. 1977.
Davis, Kathy. Reshaping the Female Body. 1995.
Febos, Melissa, The Feminist Case for Breast Reduction. The New York Times. 2022.
Hooks, bell. Black Looks. 1992
Marinella, Lucrezia. The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men. 1600.
Why is South Korea Facing a Beauty Backlash? Sky News. 2019.
Widdows, Heather. Perfect Me. 2018
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Mindsets: Enquiry and lifelong learning; Outlook and engagement.
Skills: Personal and intellectual autonomy; Communication.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Filipa Melo Lopes
Tel: (0131 6)50 3958
Course secretary
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