From the history of Avon and Mary Kay to the current state of “respectability politics” for Black women, the social ideals of femininity have offered numerous ways of assessing women—and, of course, noting where they fall short. The six pieces in this reader look at how these ideals have been constructed, perpetuated, and challenged.
Sisterhood is Powderful: Inside the feminine history of direct sales | Erika L. Fricke
Hell is Older People: Aging as the ultimate cinematic horror | Alan Prochuk
Forever Your Girl: The legacy of Helen Andelin’s fascinating womanhood | Holly Welker
In Richness and in Wealth: What does it mean to be a modern-day trophy wife? | Gretchen Sisson
No Disrespect: Black women and the burden of respectability | Tamara Winfrey Harris
Laugh Trap: When women’s voices are judging, is it the sound that’s so scary—or what they’re saying? | Abby Paige
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