Sashaying through structural adjustment

The Beauty Game

by Anita Anand

Penguin Books, Delhi, 2002

xviii+205, Price: INR 250

Reach for it" is Anita Anand's unapologetic advice. Just like the hype that it swallows hook, line and sinker, The Beauty Game, promises what it cannot deliver. The blurb claims that the book covers the middle ground between the critics and the apologists of the beauty business. Far from being a balanced synthesis, The Beauty Game is an unabashed plug for the beauty business and the creation of a branded paradise that offers consumers the vacuous choice between buying and perishing. It believes that a standardised mass produced idea of beauty is not an affront to intelligence, but a creator of opportunities, and the stepping stone to women's empowerment. Like the skin fairness cream that promises you self-esteem, and the shampoo that guarantees you the edge over others, this book echoes the myths of the beauty industry, and is in that sense as much a product of the multi-billion-dollar media and beauty world as any tawdry cosmetic on the market.

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Himal Southasian