Sunday, July 20, 2008

Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body

Author: Courtney E. Martin

First line: Eating disorders affect more than 7 million American girls and women, and up to 70 million people worldwide.

Why you should read this book: Examining the intersection between third-wave feminism and ideals of beauty in popular culture, Martin produces a chatty, personable account of how the beauty myth continues to affect American women of all ages, races, and socio-economic background. The narrative is not primarily about eating disorders, but rather the influences that lead otherwise strong and healthy girls and women to adopt unhealthy patterns of self-talk and behavior in response to unmet needs and unrealistic expectations of achievement. From family messages, sexual awakenings, and popular music to pornography, Title IX athletics, and the college experience, this book confronts the false messages of modern life and suggests new ways of looking at the self.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You're pretty satisfied with your looks, and so are all the women you know.


Comrade Kevin said...

While I have read that a certain amount of eating disorders have a biological component to them, but since I've seen a close relative struggle mightily with one in the course of her life, I certainly wonder about the societal expectations that play into it.

Certainly I've never seen a man obsess about his weight or a standard of almost unattainable beauty the way I have almost every woman I have known.

Dragon said...

well, men do too. male anorexia usually takes the form of extreme body building, though. men aren't judged on appearances to the degree that woman are, of course.