Perfect me!

Posted on Tuesday 7th January 2014

Professor Heather WiddowsProfessor Heather Widdows has been awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship. This research grant is for 24 months beginning from 1 October 2014. The Philosophy department is delighted to congratulate Professor Widdows!

Professor Widdows will be working on a monograph entitled Perfect Me!, which is under contract with the Princeton University Press. ‘Perfect me!’ can be read in a number of ways: as an individual’s aspiration to perfect themselves (‘I want to be perfect’), as assertion of what being perfect is (‘this is what I would be if I were perfect’), and as a command which a woman feels she should obey (‘you should be perfect’).

The monograph Perfect Me! explores all of these meanings, with particular focus on the moral element that each reading implies: the first, that being perfect is worth having; the second, a judgement that this is what perfection is; and the third, a moral imperative to attain it.

In addition to analysing the ideal of perfection as it is manifested in the dominant beauty ideal as a moral ideal, Professor Widdows will also critique the current reliance on individual choice and consent in determining the ethics of beauty practices. She will also focus on the picture of the moral self which underlies this ideal and suggest that there is a shift from identification of the self with the physical/observed body to the imagined body. A 100% replacement will be advertised in due course.

More information about the grant and the funding body is available at the Leverhulme Trust webpage.