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Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth about Women, Body Image, and Re-imagining the "Perfect" Body Hardcover – May 22, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1ST edition (May 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738210420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738210421
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,885,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Self-confessed "workout junkie" Goldman has written a lively but exhausting book about women's body image and the cult of the locker room. A recovered anorexic, Goldman has an M.A. in public health and writes for the American Medical Association, but you'd hardly know it from the tone of this glib, giggly and also judgmental book. Goldman interviewed members of her high-end Chicago gym, many women of different ages and racial backgrounds, and those close to her age (she's 30-ish) and size mostly sound crass and thin-obsessed. Thankfully, a few older women contribute greater insight. As concerned as Goldman is by female self-loathing and obsession with perfect bodies, she appears to dwell obsessively on other women's bodies in a not particularly kind or sensitive way, launching at one point into a diatribe about the vulgar, unsanitary public rituals she sees women performing in the locker room. Yet she seems equally uncomfortable with the quiet women who dash in and out clad in towels, deeming them "Thoroughly Modest Millies" and regales us with descriptions of her lacy thong underwear. Who can win in this game? Maybe Goldman should have interviewed women who aren't exercise junkies. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

When Goldman, then a public-health master's candidate focusing on women's health, learned of the "No Nudity" policy in the locker rooms of Women's Workout World, she concluded that women's self-esteem had dropped very low indeed, and she began close observation, as "a peeping Tomassinna," of women's locker-room culture. When naked, we are physically and emotionally vulnerable, she posits, and insecurities surface. As a recovered anorexic, Goldman was intimate with her inner critic, and that enabled her to appreciate such rites as mounting the dreaded scale, so equated with self-worth; quasi-covert comparisons of breasts; and $50 bikini waxes and other beauty rituals. Citing numerous women, she concludes that a very great number hate their bodies and therefore themselves, and this attitude is found in ever-younger girls. Having seen that age brings with it greater body confidence and comfort and the shedding of self-consciousness, Goldman, who underwent deep transformation while preparing this eminently suitable addition to women's studies, says it is "time to throw in the towel on hating our bodies." Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Writing Locker Room Diaries was a labor of love, an extraordinary journey in which women of all ages, shapes, sizes, ethnicities and backgrounds invited me into their lives to talk about a deeply personal topic. And look what I found: we all hate negative - oftentimes hateful - feelings about our bodies. This thread wove itself throughout the life continuum, starting as early as age three, with little girls who refused to eat their juice and cookies at school because they were "on diets," to older women who still felt shame about their wrinkles and sags, even though their bodies had given life to others, had sustained them through disease... (thankfully, most of the older women I spoke with had much more positive things to say about coming to terms with their aging physiques!) The book has definitely struck a chord - I was interviewed on the Today Show in July by the lovely Natalie Morales and it was featured in People Magazine as well! I think that's because, despite the aforementioned examples, the book is not just another sad eating disorder tome - it's FUNNY! My humor and own body image foibles (from first time bikini waxing to germaphobic locker room visits) are interspersed throughout, as are quotes from scores of other women, making Locker Room Diaries truly a sort of diary - a peek into the minds of what other women really think. Take a look - I bet you'll relate.

Customer Reviews

I hate that I bought this book, and reading it made me so angry that I couldn't even finish it.
Naaga
Moreover, I appreciate that Ms. Goldman sometimes shares or even illustrates her own struggles with body image throughout the book.
HT
This isn't the most cohesive review; the book itself is fragmented into very delineated chapters.
Niobe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By B. Montgomery on December 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I devoured Locker Room Diaries over two days and I have since passed a copy along to my 3 sisters, my girlfriends, my husband, and even a student! I teach writing at a local university and Goldman's words sing and dance across the pages of her powerful book - a book that is part memoir, part ethnography, and part sociology. It is a beautiful work of art and a true labor of love.

Like Goldman, I too have struggled with my body over the years - constantly pushing it too many miles until it breaks or pinching every ounce of fat on my stomach and magically wishing it would turn to rock hard stone. Goldman's book is a testament to the times that we live in where Dove pushes for a "real beauty" campaign, yet the "real women" splashed across billboards are selling FIRMING lotion.

For any woman who has ever spent time in a gym, Locker Room Diaries will resonate with her. She will laugh and cry simultaneously as her fingers turn the pages. The voices that we hear talking about their boobs, bikini waxes, and food obessions are voices that we are familiar with - that we can relate to.

I highly recommend this book!!! Goldman will NOT disappoint.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By HT on December 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I applaud Ms. Goldman for giving those who have struggled with body image issues the opportunity to read and relate to how a variety of women have felt about their bodies at various points in their lives. This book is unique because it blends a lot of wit and humor, research and expert opinions, and women's experiences together into a diary of lessons learned. Moreover, I appreciate that Ms. Goldman sometimes shares or even illustrates her own struggles with body image throughout the book. This is another attempt by the author to allow those readers who have been struggling with similar issues to understand it may be a long and sometimes bumpy road to recovery, and most of all, no"body" is perfect.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Micki on July 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It seems like a lot of women loved this book so I will respect that - but I don't agree.

Like many women I have had a low-grade obsession with my weight and body but after reading this book I realized that I overestimated my issues.

I had to stop reading halfway through because it was just too boring and ridicules for words. The whole book is a parade of people spending their lives fretting about minute weight gains or the C-cup versus D-cup issue. But that is all it is: a parade of people lost to the world in navel-gazing over something truely meaningless. The authors obsessive listing of numbers does not sound to me like someone who has recovered from an obsession with weight and looks (nor does her picture on the backcover). It is sad how small you can make your own world.

There are a couple of really insightful books on weight obsession out there but this isn't it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By charlotte on July 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Goldman has taken a realistic and fun approach to a serious and often morbid topic. As someone who has recovered from both bulimia and anorexia, and someone that has read every book on the topic of body image, I find it refreshing to finally laugh about it. Goldman's visual descriptions, brutal honesty and writing style made me feel like I was sitting at brunch with my best friend gabbing away; sometimes serious, sometimes funny, but all honest. She also made me appreciate my body in ways I had never considered as she took body image beyond just "fat" or "thin". Locker Room Diaries made me stop and think: my body will fight disease, my legs strong enough to kick and fight off an attack, my belly will be home for a fetus, my breasts will feed a baby, my arms will provide hugs and love to people around. And just like the older woman Goldman talks to, I too hope that when I'm 90 I can look back at a body I hated so much as an adolescent and young adult and not only accept it for what it carried me through, but treasure it for the sacred moments it brought me that define "life". Thank you Leslie Goldman for your very poignant observations and the chance to have one of those "Oprah Ahah" moments! Every woman should read this (as well any man that wants insight into how women think.)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jessica on June 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read this book in one day - it was THAT fascinating and THAT funny! My favorite chapters are the ones about whether being a twin is a bane or a boon to self-image, the cultural differences of body image, and the real truths about aging. There were more than a few gems of knowledge that I learned by reading this book and it makes for a great conversational piece.

Beyond finding myself laughing at Goldman's quick-witted barbs, I found myself having greater compassion for my own self-image...flaws and all! And THAT...is priceless.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Laura S. Yates on August 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Locker Room Diaries is at once a fun read and an important commentary on society's unhealthy obsession with weight. I identified with many of the interviewees, and I saw my friends and family in many others. This book made me re-evaluate my own "health" habits and helped me to gain perspective on what's truly important. Goldman addresses difficult issues and unspoken insecurities with candor and wit.

I enjoyed Locker Room Diaries so much that I recommended it for my book club! Everyone loved reading it and it generated very honest, open, and revealing conversation. This is truly a great book!
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