Decolonising my body

£20.00

Upon getting her first tattoo at 40 years old, award-winning journalist Afua Hirsch embarked on a journey to reclaim her body from the colonial ideas of purity, adornment and ageing she – and many of us – absorbed while growing up. Informed by research from around the world, Afua examines at how individual and collective notions of what is beautiful are constructed or stripped away from us. Through personal anecdotes, interviews from beauty experts, practitioners and service users, she explores the global history of skin, hair and body modification rituals and how it has affected how we see ourselves. These insights and discoveries will empower readers to reconnect with their cultures of origin, better understand the link between beauty and politics, and liberate themselves from mainstream beauty standards that aren’t serving them.

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‘A ground-breaking book that speaks to all women’ Bernardine Evaristo

What can ancestral practices teach us about how to live fuller lives today?

Upon turning forty, Afua Hirsch had an encounter that forever altered her preconceived notions of ancestry and body image, making her question everything from body-modification rituals such as tattoos and piercings to the foundations of sexuality, as well as attitudes towards puberty, ageing and death. This book charts her year-long journey of radical unlearning. Bringing together global scholarship, on-the-ground reportage, personal anecdotes and interviews with beauty experts, practitioners and service users, she reassesses notions of body image beyond those of the colonial, patriarchal gaze.

Decolonising My Body is a powerful excavation of the Eurocentric beauty standards that have long shaped how, in particular, those from the Global Majority are perceived and view themselves. Taking us from puberty to end-of-life, Hirsch shows us that the ways in which we adorn and present ourselves have spiritual implications and shape the possibilities we see for ourselves in the world.

These insights and discoveries will empower you to reconnect with your own ancestry, better understand the link between beauty, history and (respectability) politics, and liberate yourself from mainstream standards and systems that aren’t serving you.

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Weight 0.764 kg
Dimensions 24.3 × 18 × 2.3 cm
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