all posts on the body and beauty
INTACT in NZ Herald
INTACT is featured in an article in the NZ Herald, the leading weekly magazine in New Zealand. It’s called “Face Value: Why it’s time we made peace with the way we look.” It was a real pleasure to talk to Angela Barnett for the piece, which you can read here.
INTACT in Filosofie Magazine
INTACT is featured in an article in the Dutch philosophy magazine Filosofie Nummer 11 2002. The article is by Femke van Hout, who interviewed me, and is called “Zichtbaar maar niet gezien”. You can read it here.
Intact in La Repubblica
“Il corpo è un campo di battaglia politico? Riflessioni di una filosofa” You can read – in Italian – Mara Accettura’s interview with me in La Repubblica. Find the piece here.
INTACT recommended in Metro
“A beautifully written and thoughtful push back against all the people and powers that have made us, as a society, feel that our bodies need to be altered.” Martha Alexander in Metro, 21 April 2022
Intact for Bristol Festival of Ideas
Julian Baggini and I had a long conversation about Intact for the Bristol Festival of Ideas. You can watch the interview here.
INTACT at Epoché
Intact Bodies: The Ambivalence of The Natural and The Normal – John C. Brady in Conversation with Clare Chambers was published in the February 2022 issue of Epoché, the monthly magazine for the Philosophy diaspora. You can read the interview here. Clare Chambers is a professor of political philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Her work deals with contemporary liberalism, social construction, feminism, and social justice. Her latest book, Intact (Allen Lane, 2022), is an analysis of the ways in which the body is a political site where the inequalities of sex, gender, race, disability, age, and class are reinforced. The book argues for the value of the ‘unmodified body’.…
INTACT at Hay Festival
I’ll be discussing INTACT at the Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye on 5th June 2022. You can buy tickets here.
INTACT at Oxford Literary Festival
I’ll be discussing INTACT at the Oxford Literary Festival on 26th March 2022. You can buy tickets here. Philosopher Clare Chambers argues that it is time for men, women and children to reclaim their bodies and that an unmodified body is a key principle of social and political equality.Chambers ranges across a variety of areas from bodybuilding to makeup, male circumcision, breast implants, motherhood and childbirth. She argues that social pressure to modify your body sends a message that you are not good enough, and it reinforces inequalities of sex, gender, race, disability, age, and class.Chambers is professor of political philosophy and a fellow of Jesus College in Cambridge. She…
INTACT at Cambridge Literary Festival
I’ll be discussing INTACT with Rachel Cunliffe of The New Statesman at the Cambridge Literary Festival on 23 April 2022. You can buy tickets here and watch the event online here. In the hit BBC TV series ‘Fleabag’, a feminist asks a room-full of young women whether they would trade five years of their life for the so-called ‘perfect body’. In this rousing talk, best-selling author and political philosopher Clare Chambers makes a passionate case for why loving the body we were born with is a radical act. Arguing that our choices – even the most personal ones – are not made in a cultural vacuum, Clare illuminates how ingrained…
INTACT on BBC R3 Free Thinking
I’ll be discussing INTACT with Matthew Sweet on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking on 24 February 2022. You can listen to the programme here.
INTACT on BBC R4 Woman’s Hour
I discussed INTACT with Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on 22 Feb 2022. You can listen to the programme here. Discussion of INTACT starts about 20 minutes in.
INTACT in i news
“The rise of ‘shametenance’, the exhausting things we do to hide our natural bodies because we feel inadequate. Why are we so ashamed of the way we look?” A wonderful article on INTACT by Kasia Delgado of i news, which includes a charming photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger. You can read the article here.
The political power of your body – INTACT in iai news
We all feel pressure for our bodies to look a certain way: 70% of women say they feel pressure to have a perfect body, and two thirds of men feel ashamed of how they look. However, those pressures don’t affect everyone equally. The standards by which our bodies are judged reflect and reinforce other unjust societal hierarchies. Furthermore, the failure to adhere to society’s beauty standards is often interpreted as a deeper failure of character, encompassing our entire identity. By being aware of the sources of these pressures we can remind ourselves that the unmodified body is valuable just as it is, writes Clare Chambers. Read the whole article here.
Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act
In October 2021 the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act was passed. This law makes it illegal for under-18s in England to access Botox or fillers for cosmetic reasons. This Bill follows the Nuffield Council on Bioethics report Cosmetic procedures: ethical issues. I was on the Working Party that produced that report. It recommended (amongst many other things) that children and young people under the age of 18 should not be able to access cosmetic procedures, other than in the context of multidisciplinary healthcare. Since publication of this report the Nuffield Council (of which I am a member) have made a sustained effort to follow up our recommendations, and…
Intact: A Defence of the Unmodified Body
In an age of social media and selfies, of pixel-perfect pictures and surgically-enhanced celebrities, the pressure to change our bodies can often seem overwhelming. We are told we should conceal the signs of ageing and get our bodies back after pregnancy. We ought to perfect our complexions, build our biceps, trim our waistlines, cure our disabilities, conceal our quirks. More than ever before, we should contort our physical selves to prejudiced standards of beauty and acceptability. In this thought-provoking work, acclaimed political philosopher Clare Chambers argues that the unmodified body is a key principle of equality. While defending the right of anyone to change their bodies, she argues that the…
Women & Equalities Select Committee Report
The Women & Equalities Select Committee has published their report “Changing the perfect picture: an inquiry into body image”. The report quotes evidence I gave to the Committee on behalf of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, and adopts a number of the Council’s recommendations. You can read the report here, and the Nuffield Council’s statement here.
Nuffield Council on Bioethics project on gender identity
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is launching a new project that will explore the ethical, social, and legal issues associated with the care and treatment of children and adolescents in relation to their gender identity. Increasing numbers of young people and their families in the UK have been seeking advice and support in relation to gender identity issues in recent years. In autumn 2019, we spoke to a wide range of individuals about the challenges involved in providing care and treatment for young people in relation to their gender identity. From those meetings, it is clear that there are many areas of consensus, but there are also a number of unresolved ethical…
UK Parliament APPG Inquiry into invasive cosmetic procedures
On 24 November 2020 I gave evidence to the UK Parliament All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics, and Well-Being. The APPG are running an important inquiry into non-surgical invasive cosmetic procedures, and I spoke in their session on Ethics and Mental Health. You can read more about the Inquiry here.
Women & Equalities Select Committee
On 23rd September 2020 I gave evidence to the Women & Equalities Select Committee Inquiry “Changing the Perfect Picture: an Inquiry into Body Image” on behalf of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. You can view a recording of the evidence session here, and read a transcript here. My evidence to the Committee was quoted on the Talk Radio news bulletin that night and in a written article in Yahoo News.
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Sex, Money, and Luck in Sport
Clare Chambers, “Sex, Money, and Luck in Sport” published in Journal of Medical Ethics Vol. 46 No. 9 (2020). You can read the paper here.
Rethinking The Body on BBC Radio 5 Live
My essay Rethinking The Body was featured on BBC Radio 5 Live on the Stephen Nolan show with Rick Edwards on Saturday 27th June 2020 at 9pm. After the essay was broadcast the first hour of the show discussed body image in the context of the pandemic with me and several other guests. You can listen to the programme here.
Rethinking The Body discussed in BBC article
My essay on Rethinking The Body featured as a discussion article based on the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour discussion. You can read the article here.
Rethinking The Body on Woman’s Hour
My radio essay “Rethinking The Body” was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on Wednesday 24th June. From the Woman’s Hour website:Rethink is a series of essays and discussions across BBC Radio 4, 5 Live and the World Service that looks at how the world might change after the coronavirus pandemic. Today’s essay features the political philosopher Clare Chambers who considers how our relationship with our bodies, and our appearance has been affected by the lockdown. To discuss Jenni is joined by Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism project, Kate Lister, Lecturer in the School of Arts and Communication at Leeds Trinity University, and Shahidha Bari, Professor…
Rethinking The Body
I have recorded an essay on how we think about our bodies for Rethink – a BBC radio series that considers how the world should change after the coronavirus pandemic. You can listen to the programme and see the others in the series here.
Member of Nuffield Council on Bioethics
I am honoured to be appointed as a Council Member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, an independent body that examines and advises on ethical issues that arise from developments in biomedical science and healthcare. I have previously worked with the Council as a member of the Working Party that produced the report on Cosmetic Procedures. I’m extremely pleased to be able to join the Council and play a part in shaping the overall work of the organisation. You can find a full list of Council members here.
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Medically unnecessary genital cutting and the child’s right to bodily integrity: an international expert consensus statement
In American Journal of Bioethics Vol. 19 (2019). Keeping our focus exclusively on a Western context for the purposes of this article, we argue as follows: Under most conditions, cutting any person’s genitals without their informed consent is a serious violation of their right to bodily integrity. As such, it is morally impermissible unless the person is nonautonomous (incapable of consent) and the cutting is medically necessary. This paper is authored by the Brussels Collaboration on Bodily Integrity (2019). This work grew out of informal discussions among participants in the G3 International Experts Meeting on FGM/C in Brussels, Belgium, May 20-22, 2019, along with other scholarly collaborators. We are physicians,…
Blending in and standing out: comfort and visibility in beauty practices
“My thought is this: a significant aspect of beauty practices is comfort and visibility. Comfort relates to discipline: discipline makes some actions and inactions seem comfortable and others effortful. Visibility relates to surveillance: some beauty practices make us seem visible or hyper-visible, others make us feel invisible. Sometimes beauty practices aim at making the practitioner visible: she wants her appearance to be noticeable. But beauty practices can also aim at invisibility: at making a person blend in rather than stand out. Both make up and its absence can have this effect, depending on the person and context involved.” This short piece is published on the Beauty Demands blog. You can…
Cosmetic Procedures: Ethical Issues – one year on
One year since the publication of “Cosmetic Procedures: Ethical Issues” the Nuffield Council of Bioethics has published a report on the impact that publication has had so far. You can read that report here. I was a member of the Working Party on Cosmetic Procedures who produced the original report.
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Reasonable Disagreement and the Neutralist Dilemma
Chambers, Clare, “Reasonable Disagreement and the Neutralist Dilemma: Abortion and circumcision in Matthew Kramer’s Liberalism with Excellence” in The American Journal of Jurisprudence (May 2018). You can read the paper here. Abstract: This paper starts by investigating the idea of reasonable disagreement. It then considers Matthew Kramer’s argument that there is no neutral solution available to the disagreement over abortion. The paper argues that Kramer’s account has wider application, and identifies a neutralist dilemma. The neutralist dilemma applies when, of two policy options available to the state, one is unreasonable. It follows that the state should enact only the reasonable policy. However, in a neutralist dilemma the fact of reasonable disagreement due to the…
Neutrality at University of Edinburgh
I presented my paper “Reasonable disagreement and the neutralist dilemma: Abortion and circumcision in Matthew Kramer’s Liberalism with Excellence” at the University of Edinburgh in March 2018. You can read their account of the session on the Just World Institute blog here.