What does it mean to be a modern woman in Asia? How do institutionalized gender divisions affect creativity? Whose interests does the pursuit of beauty serve? Is being beautiful empowering, and in what context? How do physical expressions of femininity alter women's status in society?
Visualizing Beauty examines the intersections between feminine ideals and changing socio-political circumstances in China, Japan, and Korea during the first half of the twentieth century. Eight essays present a broad range of visual products that informed concepts of beauty and womanhood, including fashion, interior design magazines, newspaper illustrations, and paintings of and by women. Studying "Traditional Woman" and "New Woman" as historical categories, this anthology contemplates the complex relations between feminine subjectivity and the promotion of modernity, commerce, and colonialism.