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Heather Widdows

I’m a Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Warwick, with expertise in applied ethics, global ethics, bioethics, moral philosophy and feminist philosophy. In the 2022/2023 academic year I will be teaching a post-graduate module in term 2 on Appearance, Identity and Visual Culture.

My most recent book, Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal (2018), was described by Vogue as “ground-breaking” and listed by The Atlantic as one of the best books of 2018. My other books are The Connected Self: The Ethics and Governance of the Genetic Individual (2103), Global Ethics: An Introduction (2011), and The Moral Vision of Iris Murdoch (2005). I have edited a number of collections, including on reproductive rights and genetic ethics, and I co-edited, with Darrel Moellendorf, The Routledge Handbook of Global Ethics (2014).

I am a member of the British Philosophical Association (BPA) Exec, and was Deputy Chair of the Philosophy sub-panel for REF 2021 and a member of the 2014 sub-panel. I also served on the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (2014-2020) and previously on the UK Biobank Ethics and Governance Council (2007-2013).

I co-run the Beauty Demands Network and Blog ( with Dr Fiona MacCallum, in the Psychology department, and I founded the #everydaylookism project ( - Hopefully soon to change!).

You can find out more about my academic work and my media and policy engagement on my personal website (

Selected publications (see my personal website for a fuller list)


  • Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal, Princeton University Press, 2018
  • The Connected Self: The Ethics and Governance of the Genetic Individual Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013
  • Global Ethics: An Introduction Routledge, 2011 (2nd edition in progress)
  • The Moral Vision of Iris Murdoch Ashgate, 2005



  • ‘No Duty to Resist: Why Individual Resistance is an Ineffective Response to Dominant Beauty Ideals’ The Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Vol. 122, no.1, (2022), 27-44
  • ‘Structural Injustice and the Requirements Beauty’, Journal of Social Philosophy, Vol. no. 2 (2021), 251-269
  • ‘The Neglected Harms of Beauty: Beyond Individual Choice’, Journal of Practical Ethics 5, no. 2 (2017), 1-29
  • ‘Altered Images: Understanding the Influence of Unrealistic Images and Beauty Aspirations’, with Fiona MacCallum, Health Care Analysis 23, no 3 (2018), 235-245
  • ‘Human embryos and eggs: from long-term storage to biobanking’ with Françoise Baylis, Monash Bioethics Review, Vol 33, 4, (2015) 340-359
  • ‘Revising Global Theories of Justice to Include Public Goods’ with Peter West Oram in Special Issue of Journal of Global Ethics, edited by Monique Deveaux, Vol 9. No 2, (2013) 227-243
  • ‘The right not to know: The case of psychiatric disorders’, with Lisa Bortolotti in Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 37 (2011), 673-676
  • ‘Persons and their parts: New reproductive technologies and risks of commodification’ in Health Care Analysis, 17, (2009) 36-46
  • ‘Border disputes across bodies: Exploitation in Trafficking for Prostitution and Egg Sale for Stem Cell Research’ in International Journal of the Feminist Association of Bioethics, (2009) 5-24