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It is no longer enough for girls to be good, says journalist and teacher Martin in her debut book. Girls must now be perfect, and that need for perfection is played out in women's bodies. But beneath the high-achieving "perfect girl" surface, seven million American girls and women suffer from an eating disorder; 90% of high school–aged girls think they are overweight. Drawing on more than 100 interviews with women and girls ages 9–29, Martin constructs a cultural critique of a generation of girls steeped in the language of self-control. "If I'm not thinking about my body or calories, I'm probably sleeping or dead," a 14-year-old confesses. Such heartbreaking quotes fill the book and fuel Martin's anger. In chapters devoted to the influence of "porn culture," the role fathers play in shaping their daughters' self-image, eating disorders among athletes, the narrowly circumscribed role of women in hip-hop and more, Martin explores the forces that drive young women to sacrifice themselves on the altar of perfection. A self-described perfect girl, Martin brings a personal perspective to the topic. If occasionally overambitious in her reach, Martin has a valuable mission: calling on young women to harness their intellectual and emotional energy and learn to enjoy their bodies, "imperfect" though they may be. (Apr.)
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'Great news! The vexed knot of eating disorders, body image, and self-esteem gets updated with fresh analysis and new examples for a new generation. Courtney Martin's takewill bring insight to a whole new group of teenagers and young women.' NAOMI WOLF, author of THE BEAUTY MYTH 'An engaging and heartbreaking account of the tragic circumstances girls and women find themselves in today as they struggle to find a body they can feel secure with.' SUSIE ORBACH, author of FAT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE '...a smart and spirited rant that makes for thought-provoking reading.' THE NEW YORK TIMES --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Editorial Reviews
I have been struggling with quitting dieting - although it's damaging my health, I still had that 'fear' of weight gain. Terrified, you might say. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Lucy
Very shocking how honest this book is. More women should read this book to understand you and your food and image battles don't need to be fought solo. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Ashley Ritzert
Great book. Definitely a must-read if you are interested in eating disorders from a modern day perspective. I thought it was a bit extreme however. Read morePublished 22 months ago by tangerine
One of my personal favorites; I read this while in treatment and have been coveting it for my shelves ever since. Read morePublished on December 25, 2012 by bekah
Courtney Martin does an amazing job of capturing the idea and the causes of eating disorders in her book Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The New Normalcy of Hating Your Body. Read morePublished on March 29, 2010 by Allison Reid
First of all, if you have an eating disorder don't read this book. I bought it because I hoped to learn something about eating disorders, instead she just went on and on, saying... Read morePublished on December 25, 2009 by L. Smith
Here's one of the many excerpts from the book I've highlighted:
"Obsessing over every little thing we put in our mouths may not lead to death or some of the other tangible... Read more
First, let me qualify myself: At the time I read this book, I was working in a clinical hospital setting conducting groups for adults in partial hospitalization mental health... Read morePublished on July 15, 2008 by WichacpiHoskila
This is an amazing book. Written from the heart of every college girl, a must-read for girls in high school and beyond, or anyone trying to understand the world of girls today. Read morePublished on May 15, 2008 by A. Horwitz