‘Beauty: Its Secret Pleasures, Pain, and Power’

Author Michal Tal (mtal11@bezeqint.net) emails me a pitch about her new book for which she seeks a publisher:

Genre: Social Issues / Women’s Interests

Word Count: 44, 196

Pages: 155


My newest book, Beauty: Its Secret Pleasures, Pain, and Power, is written for every woman who gets up in the morning and sees a hag in the mirror. It is also a reprieve for attractive women who ‘pay’ for it.

Being beautiful certainly has its perks. It’s like winning the lottery, and it’s the ultimate ‘freebie’. When you look like a princess, people think you have the keys to a magical kingdom, and they seek you out, and often treat you with deference. However, all reactions are not so positive.

As a pretty child, and later, as an attractive adult, I have been forced again and again to question people’s attitudes towards good-looking people. Attractive people are often the victims of misconceptions and misbehaviors which are reactions to their looks. This is not surprising.

In Western society, the media’s barrage of beautiful images, air-brushed to ageless perfection, creates a difficult environment from which to attain a sense of self- acceptance, a sense or reality, or realize professional or personal accomplishment. In a job interview, one’s appearance can cancel out the most prestigious of resumes.

Being beautiful makes life easier, you say? Watch what you wish for! For the beautiful ‘other’, this same reality can be a place of opportunity, such as a promotion, or alternatively, a terrain of nettles and briars, such as being a ‘brain’ but considered a ‘bimbo’. Good looks can be a source of torment and the cause of derailed relationships and sabotaged family connections.

This ‘gift of the gods’ is, sometimes dipped in anguish. The beautiful woman can inhabit a desolate, lonely moonscape tread exclusively by the outwardly blessed and the inwardly distressed.

This book is not a journey for the faint-hearted.; it is a frank investigation of the unstable world of the beautiful, and an exploration of the destructive character of

That taboo emotion; jealousy. Included are the topics of women’s aging, the pressures of society, and the psychological and the social aspects of plastic surgery, and what it feels like to be beautiful.

I am a mother of four and an artist and an editor. I received my M.A. in English Literature from Tel Aviv University (Thesis: An Evil and Corrupting Presence: the Gothic House and Its Occupants).  I have published feature articles in the Israeli media, including Being a Blonde in Israel, for the major newspaper, Yediot Ahronot. In 1995, I published my historical novel, The Lion & the Cross (for which I was interviewed on BBC radio).

More recently, I published a children’s book, The Secrets of Silver Lake, with the publisher, Eric Cohen Books, under the nom de plume Michelle Telford.

I believe I am uniquely qualified to write on this subject. I must stress, that I don’t feel like I was born as one of those goddesses of perfection that people worship. This is not because of any outstanding physical deficiency, but because my glamorous looks have made me miserable throughout my life

Although Susan Shapiro Barash researched the prevalence of female jealousy in Tripping the Prom Queen, and Naomi Wolf used political feminism to explore this topic in The Beauty Myth, not only have my recent academic works focused on the historical themes of the ideal woman but, as an attractive ‘victim’, I am able to ‘write from the gut’, which allows the reader to experience being the proverbial ‘fly on the wall’.

In the contemporary world, all women are victims of the media’s impossible standards. However, the subject of the victimization of the beautiful woman, and the ensuing psychological scars, are never discussed.

This book may be of interest to models, scholars, social critics, people in the media, the masses, and mostly, to the average woman, who, feeling travel-worn or tired from her job or her day’s chores, is stuck at the supermarket check-out line, and forced to face those impossibly perfect, relaxed, carefree faces peering out from the glossy covers of women’s magazines. With so much emphasis on the superficial in contemporary society, I believe my book can be entertaining and informative, and will resonate with a familiar truth.

I appreciate your reading of this query, considering your busy schedule. I would be happy to supply you with any other material at your request.


Michal Tal


About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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