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Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image (Live Girls) Paperback – January 1, 2004
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The breezy, irreverent essays in Adios, Barbie are a welcome antidote to the narrow cultural consciousness the tiny doll has fostered for more than 40 years. While thousands of little girls worship Barbie's plasticine perfection, those who wind up dissatisfied with the message she sends--be white, be skinny, be stacked, be pretty, and then you'll be loved--can tell you how a toy skews body image in the real world. Among whites talking trash about blacks and upwardly mobile black folks, notes Erin J. Aubry, big butts are suspect--"low-class and ghettoish," the antithesis of Barbie's tightly tucked derriere. Yet on good days, Aubry applauds her ample proportions, for "unlike hair or skin, the butt is stubborn, immutable--it can't be hot-combed or straightened or bleached into submission. It does not assimilate; it never took a slave name."
In "Fishnets, Feather Boas, and Fat," Nomy Lam--a 250-pound, 22-year-old disabled woman--and friends elbow their way to the front of a determinedly different club, "dancing like fiends toward revolution." Lee Damsky tells us why her mother's model of scientific prowess took a dusty third-place to big-screen images of "beauty and femininity [that] seem to offer me absolute power rivaled only by a fascist dictatorship." Because the various writers gathered together here are young, their conceits and world-views are sometimes annoyingly unexamined; by the same token, though, their energy, heckling, and bone-deep assurance make large and pleasing dents in mainstream assumptions. --Francesca Coltrera --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Edut, founder and publisher of the magazine HUES (Hear Us Emerging Sisters), has assembled a collection of the freshest, hippest writers ever to slam Mattel's Barbie doll and speak up for the beauty of the un-blonde, the un-tall and the un-anorexic. Addressing everything you always wanted to know about body image, from leg hair to transsexuals and African American women's posteriors, the more than 25 contributors present a spectrum of attitudes toward the female body. Although a few of the essays are weak when compared to the book's best pieces, the volume as a whole is a step forward in the discussion of how feminine attractiveness is viewed in American society, concluding that women must seek their own definition of beauty in order to gain a sense of self-acceptance. Essays such as Susan Jane Gilman's "Klaus Barbie, and Other Dolls I'd Like to See" and Graciela Rodriguez's "Breaking the Model" provide insight into the challenges of young women who grew up feeling as if they had to compete with the pert and impossibly perfect Barbie. Other pieces, such as "My Jewish Nose" by Lisa Jervis and "My Brown Face" by Mira Jacob, illuminate the obstacles in trying to emulate a Caucasian appearance. Every writer in this splendid collection raises a different issue, yet the essays address the same theme and, cumulatively, make for compelling and important reading.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
-Kate Dillon's piece on life before and after becoming a plus-size model, and
-a thoughtful essay by a woman who worked for awhile as a stripper and actually felt empowered and liberated by it, as opposed to objectified as we might think
Overall, I recommend this book but think it would've been richer if some of the pieces had been left out.