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Comment: Ex-library book. The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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Bodies (BIG IDEAS//small books) Paperback – March 3, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Noted psychoanalyst and feminist thinker Orbach, author of The Impossibility of Sex, Fat is a Feminist Issue and once-counselor to Princess Diana, takes a critical look at the modern notion that "biology need no longer be destiny." Rather than liberating individuals, Orbach contends that this has only made the body another competitive realm for personal achievement: "The individual is now deemed accountable for his or her body and judged by it." This "obsessive cultural focus" leads to a host of psychological problems, making "body anxiety" as fundamental a threat to the modern psyche as emotional anxiety (leading to self harm, obesity, anorexia, etc.). Body anxiety has also driven the beauty industry to become a $160 billion, fully-globalized industry with customers from the U.S., U.K. and other advanced sector economies traveling abroad for discount reconstruction (Nose jobs in Tehran, eye surgery in Asia). Orbach provides a rich, nuanced context for the present moment, looking through time and across cultures at (among other topics) child rearing regimes, body-shaping techniques (tattoos, bound feet) and standard mechanical activities like walking. Orbach makes a powerful case that, because people today have been seduced by a one-size-fits all Western (celebrity) body image, we deprive ourselves-body, mind and soul-of the body's most simple pleasures and rewards, up to and including sexual intimacy.
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From Booklist

Orbach delves into the touchy subject of commercial exploitation of “the body” and explores how modern culture is eroding individual appreciation of the unaltered human form. She uses specific case studies from her own practice to show the long-term effects that can result from body dissatisfaction. From a man desperate to cut off his own legs to an abused child whose body stubbornly refuses to grow normally, examples of the price paid for negative body image abound. Orbach also delves into celebrity culture and its embrace of cosmetic surgery. She is at her strongest when relying on straightforward discussions of how bodies were once transformed by hard work, and are now a “form of work” themselves. Our bodies, she further explains, have changed “from being the means of production to the production itself.” Orbach’s timely analysis is a key addition to the growing discussion of what is becoming a national trend, the favoring of delusion over reality, a troubling tendency that is threatening to steadily encompass all facets of American life. --Colleen Mondor
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Product Details

  • Series: BIG IDEAS//small books
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Original edition (March 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312427204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312427207
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.6 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #768,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Sharon Haywood on July 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Scandinavian women who believe they're too tall can get their legs shortened by having a surgeon break the femur bones and cut them down to a desirable length. Chinese men and women wanting the opposite can have a four-inch metal rod implanted in their upper legs to add height. Approximately half of Korean girls today are westernizing their eyes. Men worldwide are signing up for phalloplasty procedures--to enlarge and lengthen their [...]

Even though I wrote this text as part of my review of Susie Orbach's latest book Bodies, I still can't help but shake my head each time I read it. Orbach, renowned UK psychotherapist and one of the driving forces behind Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty, opened my eyes to the true nature of our relationship with our bodies. I've always known that the media has played a part in my own personal struggle to accept my body, but after reading Bodies abundant with realities such as, "2,000 to 5,000 times a week, we receive images of bodies enhanced by digital manipulation," I now recognize the full extent to which the media and our environment negatively affects how we view and feel about our bodies.

Despite the the alarming facts, what I appreciate most about her book is that she left me feeling hopeful. Pick up a copy and become inspired to cultivate a life without body shame, without the need to remodel yourself against an unattainable Western ideal. [...]
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Format: Paperback
Orbach argues that our bodies are no longer our homes, but instead are a presentation piece that we constantly shape - through surgery, cosmetics, weight loss and weight gain - to convince the world that we are what we aspire to be.

She illustrates her thesis with interesting - occasionally horrifying - stories. For example; in 1995, the World Health Organization changed it's definition of Body Mass Index (BMI) By that new definition, Brad Pitt became "overweight", and George Clooney became "obese". I'll spare you the story of the man who didn't like his legs, but Orbach opens the book with it.

Why should this matter? For one thing, she believes that the range of what constitutes "beauty" is being narrowed by the advertising we see constantly. And that is a loss - we shouldn't all have to be tall, thin, and blond to be considered beautiful.
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Format: Paperback
A wonderful fusion of modern psychoanalytic perspectives, feminist analysis, neuropsychology, case studies, original thinking, and poignant writing, _Bodies_ traces how the interplay between body vulnerability and societal ideals has resulted in today's crisis levels of body dissatisfaction.

Orbach proposes the original idea of a critical period for "body acquisition" (similar to that of language acquisition) during which time a young child develops a sense of being in his or her body. The ability to achieve a sense that one's body is stable and reliable ultimately depends on the quality of attachment to the caregiver, as well as the caregiver's ability to be comfortable with their own body (as "every body is made with the intimate imprint of the familial body story"). Children who do not successfully gain a sense of body stability become the teenagers and adults who are most vulnerable to succumbing to the messages of the globalized media and perpetually manipulating their body into the idealized westernized body.

Orbach explains how as a result of this never-ending battle, "the body has become a casing for fantasy rather than a place from which to live." The solution for this dis-embodiment, she suggests, lies in "engaging with the difficulties that our bodies present to us at a psychological, personal, and social level." By learning how to embody our bodies, we will be able to fully live in them--instead of in the hopes that they could be something more.

Although _Bodies_ may be a small book, its content is profound and largely pertains to any and every body.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Small book- easier to find essential ideas. Very important work. Reminds to treat body as is with love/ respect. How we are lost to our bodies by accepting the culture's views. Never good enough/beautiful enough. Fix- fix-fix. This book reminds us to breathe in beauty- all of us included.
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Format: Paperback
Orbach has an excellent writing style that makes her viewpoints powerful and persuasive. This is a collection of essays on 'the body' as a psychological cultural unit, many of them spattered with legitimate fears about the future of the body under the duress of the growing plastic surgery and exercise/dieting industries. Anyone interested in the psychology of body image should read this, even if it's just something they stumbled upon. -Ryan Mease
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