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…
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.
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Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Sex and Sexuality
This Handbook covers the most urgent, controversial, and important topics in the philosophy of sex. It is both philosophically rigorous and yet accessible to specialists and non-specialists, covering ethics, political philosophy, metaphysics, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of language, and featuring interactions with neighboring disciplines such as psychology, bioethics, sociology, and anthropology. The volume’s 40 chapters, written by an international team of both respected senior researchers and essential emerging scholars, are divided into eight parts: I. What is Sex? Is Sex Good?II. Sexual OrientationsIII. Sexual Autonomy and ConsentIV. Regulating Sexual RelationshipsV. Pathologizing Sex and SexualityVI. Contested DesiresVII. Objectification and Commercialized SexVIII. Technology and the Future of Sex…
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…
UK Parliament Select Committee inquiry into the Rights of Cohabiting Partners
I submitted written evidence to the UK Parliament’s Women & Equalities Select Committee Inquiry into The Rights of Cohabiting Partners. You can read all the evidence submitted to the Committee here.
Re-Reading A Theory of Justice
Is there anything new left to say about A Theory of Justice? In this brief paper I reflect on this question, on the basis of re-reading the text fifty years since John Rawls first published it, and twenty-five years since I first encountered it as an undergraduate. In the journal Polity, online first (2021). You can read it here: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdf/10.1086/716248#
What the Foucault?
An interview with me was featured in “What the Foucault?”, an episode of Analysis on BBC Radio 4 in 2021. The programme was made by Shahidha Bari and you can listen to it here.
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…
Talking Politics History of Ideas
David Runciman and I discussed Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex in an LRB subscribers’ webinar in March 2021. The webinar was part of Talking Politics History of Ideas Season 2. You can listen to that series here.
Against Marriage on the Counterintuitive Podcast
I discussed the arguments of Against Marriage with Paul Sagar of King’s College London on their Counterintuitive podcast. You can listen to the episode here and read a full transcript (though watch out for some transcription errors) on this page.
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.
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Respect, Religion, and Feminism
Respect, Religion, and Feminism: Comments on Lori Watson and Christie Hartley, Equal Citizenship and Public Reason: A Feminist Political Liberalism is published in Journal of Applied Philosophy September 2020. You can read the paper here. Abstract: There is significant disagreement among feminists and liberals about the compatibility between the two doctrines. Political liberalism has come under particular criticism from feminists, who argue that its restricted form of equality is insufficient. In contrast, Lori Watson and Christie Hartley argue that political liberalism can and must be feminist. This article raises three areas of disagreement with Watson and Hartley’s incisive account of feminist political liberalism. First, it argues that an appeal to a…
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…