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Perfect Me: Understanding Beauty Ideals

Course Type

Perfect Me: Understanding Beauty Ideals

The quest to look beautiful is something that drives and dominates people all over the world. The rise of body image anxiety has become a global epidemic and the need to be perfect is an ethical ideal that’s difficult to live by.

On this course, you will discover the features of the beauty ideal and how it has changed over the years. You will explore the role of ‘normal’ and how beauty as an ethical ideal defines the way you view yourself and others. You will also look to the future and learn how beauty ideals can be understood in a more positive way.

What is a MOOC?

A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course - these are free, open, online courses designed to offer a taste of Higher Education to learners from across the UK and the world. The University of Birmingham is delivering new MOOCs in partnership with FutureLearn, the UK’s first MOOCs provider established by the Open University.

Delivered by world-class academics from the University of Birmingham, the courses enable learners worldwide to sample high-quality academic content via an interactive web-based platform from a leading global University, increasing access to higher education for a whole new cohort of learners.

The courses have been developed by senior academic staff and their content is quality-assured in line with our other programmes. The courses do not offer credits towards admission to the University of Birmingham.

Course knowledge requirements

This course is for anyone interested in or studying beauty ideals and practices or global ethics. 

Course duration and content

This course is two weeks long, and the following topics will be covered:

  • What is an ethical ideal and how is beauty an ethical ideal
  • What are the features of the beauty ideal
  • The role of ‘normal’
  • Why does the beauty ideal give rise to a duty to be beautiful
  • Are beauty ideals converging globally?
  • What are the drivers of the global beauty ideal
  • Is there a global epidemic of body image anxiety?
  • How can the future be better?

Who you will learn with

  • Lead academic: Professor Heather Widdows
     Professor Heather Widdows
    is the John Ferguson Professor of Global Ethics and Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research Impact at the University of Birmingham. Her research explores the moral and ethical nature of beauty, particularly the increasing demands of beauty.

How to apply

This free online course will start Monday 8 July 2019. Please register your interest in participating at the FutureLearn website.

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