1st Edition

Facing the Mirror Older Women and Beauty Shop Culture

By Frida Kerner Furman Copyright 1997
    230 Pages
    by Routledge

    230 Pages
    by Routledge

    This innovative, ethnographic study of a neighborhood beauty salon investigates how customers constitute a lively, affirming community of peers during their weekly visits. Facing the Mirror gives voice to older women, who, in a sexist and ageist society, are frequently devalued and rendered invisible. These older, mostly Jewish women articulate their experiences of bodily self-presentation, femininity, aging, and caring pertaining to their lives within and outside Julie's International Salon. This book explores the socio-moral significance of these experiences which reveals as much about society as about older women themselves. Women's narratives expose structures of power, inequality, and resistance in the ways women perceive reality, make choices and live in their worlds.

    Introduction; Chapter Chapter One; Women’s Territory; Community and the Ethic of Care at Julie’s International Salon; Chapter Two; The Witch in the Mirror; Feminine Beauty and Its Imperatives; Chapter Three; “What’s My Alternative?”; Aging and Its Challenges; Chapter Four; “The Cheese Stands Alone”; Women in Relation to Work, Caring, and the Family; Chapter Five; Energetic Anger; An Invitation to Resistance;


    Frida Kerner Furman is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University and is author of Beyond Yiddishkeit: The Struggle for Jewish Identity in a Reform Synagogue.

    "An accessibly written ethnography, the women in Furman's beauty shop reveal a great deal about women's lives and positions in contemporary culture." -- Feminist Bookstore News
    "I quickly absorbed Furman's words-the results of nearly five years of research"...it is a book long overdue." -- Heritage Sunday
    "Facing the Mirror combines studies of aging, Judaism, and beauty into an excellent ethnographic study of a beauty salon in Chicago." -- Gender & Society
    "The book calls much needed attention to an area of women's experience that has been seen as socially insignificant." -- C. Adamsky Choice
    "A respectful and even tender treatment of a large and largely neglected population in our culture: elderly, middle income, middle American women...[Furman's] account is beautifully written, warm." -- Sally B. Purvis
    "What Furman gives us in Facing the Mirror is hard to come by: a mostly jargon-free chronicle of an oft-ignored population." -- In These Times
    "Facing the Mirror is a thoughtful feminist analysis." -- Booklist