The body business in booming. Plastic surgeons are sucking out more fat than ever, breast implants aren't just for showgirls anymore, and millions of Americans are popping pills for obesity and baldness. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the dangerous quest for beauty, and the hidden meaning of big hair.
Elizabeth Haiken teaches history at the University of Tennessee and is the author of "Venus Envy: The History of Cosmetic Surgery." She tells Jim Fleming that nose jobs go back to India in 600 B.C. and that attitudes toward plastic surgery have changed dramatically.SEGMENT 2:
Joan Jacobs Brumberg teaches history at Cornell and is the author of "The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls." She tells Judith Strasser that she used girls' diaries to chart the rise in body consciousness from the nineteenth century to the present, and that obsessing about the body is epidemic among today's girls.SEGMENT 3:
Frida Kerner Furman teaches religious studies at DePaul University and is the author of "Facing the Mirror: Older Women and Beauty Shop Culture." She tells Judith Strasser that the mostly older, Jewish women who patronize Julie's International Beauty Salon in Chicago go there to find support and community as well as hair care. Also, Judith Strasser reads a poem by Robin Chapman -- "The Jo-Al Beauty Shoppe." And, Grant McCracken teaches anthropology at the University of Ontario and is the author of "Big Hair: A Journey into the Transformation of Self." He tells Steve Paulson that Margaret Thatcher and Dolly Parton represent two different kinds of big hair; that we use hair to express, or transform, our self-image; and that men are just as vain about their hair as women -- they just don't admit it.
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