Appearance and Society

Hannah Frith

in Oxford Handbook of the Psychology of Appearance

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199580521
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:
Appearance and Society

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This article explores a number of examples of how appearance and the reading about it operate to produce class-based divisions and the different emotional registers which are used to do so. First it examines how the brief description of a woman called Teresa Bystram's appearance in Britain's largest circulation daily tabloid newspaper, The Sun positions her as a ‘chav’ — a figure which circulates through popular cultural representations and has become a pervasive term of abuse for the white poor, evoking mockery and disgust. Second, it examines how mockery, disgust, and humiliation are the emotional registers through which makeover television shows engage in symbolic violence against the working classes, before moving on to consider the implications of makeover shows which adopt a different emotional register.

Keywords: recognition; misrecognition; media; chav; white poor; mockery; disgust; humiliation; makeover shows; social class

Article.  6149 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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