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The Invisible Woman: Confronting Weight Prejudice in America Paperback – November 6, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Gurze Books (November 6, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0936077107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0936077109
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,701,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Goodman, who recalls a grim childhood of being teased and "condemned" as "the fat kid," brings a fierceness to her arguments about how women (in particular) are devalued for not being thin. Among her (valid) complaints are that heavy women are rarely seen in ads, movies or other media as happy, fulfilled, sexual individuals; that they are portrayed as dirty, lazy, unattractive and "lacking in self-regard"; and that women are "not popularly admired for their physical appetites, only their denial of them." However, the author's good intentions are weakened by her many dated media citations-some of the magazines and diet books she cites and quotes from are a decade or even 20 years out of date. More troubling is Goodman's attempt to link the dynamics of "weight bigotry" and "anti-Semitism," in particular, the anti-Semitism of the Nazi era. Claims the author, "The fat woman, like the Jew, is conscripted by society to carry its collective burdens of self-hate and fear." Since neither Goodman nor the pundits she criticizes supply a real definition of "too fat" (an ounce over the recent Harvard height/weight charts; medically obese; or just the size of the "average" American woman, who wears size 14 and up?), many of her provocative points lose, ahem, their weight. Goodman's attempt to deal with perceptions of fat, thin and bias in a serious manner is bold but ultimately not as convincing as it could have been.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Goodman, a legal secretary, makes a persuasive argument about weight prejudice: Negative generalizations about the character of the overweight woman, based on unexamined and uninformed beliefs, result in cruel and unwarranted treatment from both men and women. This "cultural taboo" benefits the health and weight-loss industries, pervades the media, and, in the interest of sexism, intensifies competition among women based on appearance. What is new in Goodman's analysis is the explicit parallel she draws between discrimination based on body size and racism, homophobia, and, particularly, anti-Semitism, an analogy to which she devotes a long chapter. Goodman counsels aggression against rather than acquiescence to the American obsession with obesity. Appropriate for large public libraries.?Cynthia Harrison, Federal Judicial Ctr., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

'The Invisible Woman' was a joy to read.
Alison
I've read many books on culture, world religions, and prejudice, and I would say that Charisse Goodman's book definitely ranks up there with the best of them.
Rochelle
In a simple world prejudice only goes in one direction, there is a clear cut victim and a meanie.
Christopher R. Marsh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Alison on July 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a fabulous book. It stokes the fire inside anyone sensitive to the issue of Weight Bigotry & the Oppression of People who are Fat. It made me angry- not a directionless anger but one that is motivating and powerful. The author paints a shocking picture about where the hatred of fat people has developed. She places side by side quotes by Anti-Semites and members of the Diet & Health Industry so that the awful truth about weight bigotry can be exposed. She looks at the oppression of woman & the treatment of those woman who fought for woman's rights, and compares it to the current treatment of the large woman. Ms Goodman has written a book that should be essential reading to every woman- not just fat woman. In fact its a great 'feminist' work. It is clear & easy to read. The subject matter flows from one chapter to another. 'The Invisible Woman' was a joy to read. It gave me the power to be able to dissect the comments made by those who attempt to keep the fat woman out of mind & out of sight, and then to confront them with the absurdity of their beliefs. Read this book. You won't regret it.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 1997
Format: Paperback
Goodman takes the complex, and much disregarded, subject of weight prejudice, and deconstructs it in a very clearly written analysis. She takes a look at the subtle (and not so subtle) details of culture in the United States that make the lives of large women difficult in multitudinous ways. She places the problem of Size prejudice and places it squarely beside the many other ways that our culture has learned to express hate. I found this book to be well written and clearly thought out. She shares some of her own experience as a large woman and places peoples stories alongside solid research
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Chrissy the Stooges Woman on January 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'd like to ask that previous reviewer a question: if we all did what he said and lost five pounds, how exactly would that make our opinions more valid? That's actually what this painfully well-written book is all about: the persistent prejudice in our culture specifically aimed at fat women. Any woman who tries to speak out against this, to say that perhaps our body weight isn't a character flaw, that perhaps we should be judged by the "content of our character," is subject to ridicule and scorn. This book is difficult to read because it is so true, and for that reason, it *must* be read.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By E.J. Nugent on July 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
From the first page of the introduction I felt I was reading about myself. I sat up all night until the sun rose to finish this wondrous book. Large nearly all my existence, I felt vindicated at last. While I still don't like what I see in the mirror I know now that the dislike is culturally generated; it comes from without rather than within. I'm in the process of taking my body back from those who seek to control it and me and I have Goodman's book to thank for this.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Rochelle on June 1, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books I've read so far that analyzes weight prejudice. Goodman does an excellent job exposing the myths and discourse about weight in the United States. It is also a good read for anyone wishing to learn more about prejudice in general, as she compares the discourse of Anti-Semitism, and German Anti-Semitism especially, to America's discourse on weight from the past several decades. There are also comparisons to other forms of prejudice as well. Anyone doubting the validity of similarities between weight prejudice and Anti-Semitism will be converted after reading this book, and I believe that is largely because Goodman is herself Jewish, and therefore intimately familiar with both forms of prejudice. She also details the common discourse used as excuses for prejudice by what she terms "weight bigots." You'll see what I mean if you read the Amazon review titled "An Observation," as this person's (undoubtedly a man's) comment is just the kind of language she refers to in her book (and I highly doubt he'd even bothered to read the book). I've read many books on culture, world religions, and prejudice, and I would say that Charisse Goodman's book definitely ranks up there with the best of them.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Linda Marie Fessler on June 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was wonderful. I highly recommend it. As for the so called reviewer who titled his review "An Observation", I would like to point out one interesting fact... Every single one of the women he so rudely comments on had the pride to leave their names and information on their reviews and yet you left yours off. Gee I wonder who has more to be ashamed of.
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