The Beauty Trap

It must suck to be Vanna White. Despite turning 54 this year, Wheel of Fortune’s elegant co-host and letter turner still has to work to resemble a blond, half-starved 23-year-old, which American popular culture seems to insist is the epitome of female beauty. Though cosmetic procedures have become common, how does the media’s often impossible representation of female attractiveness affect the average woman’s self-image and self-esteem? Because March is National Women’s History Month, scholars, authors and filmmakers are examining this question in “360 Degrees of Women’s Lives,” a series at Johnson County Community College (12345 College Boulevard in Overland Park). The kickoff today features the documentary America the Beautiful (at both 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., in different JCCC locations), which explores the consequences of the media’s depiction of beauty. Other upcoming events this month focus on eating disorders and perceptions of women internationally. All events are free and open to the public. See for a full schedule and more information.

— Angela Lutz

Tue., March 1, 7-8:30 p.m., 2011