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Real Gorgeous: The Truth about Body and Beauty Paperback – February 17, 1996
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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Kaz Cooke knew women needed a book that cut through the confusing and cruel messages about body image, beauty, eating disorders, diets, and cosmetic surgery. "Mostly, we needed a book that wasn't trying to sell us anything except self-confidence and the truth," says Cooke. "I couldn't find one so I had to write one." Written in the spirit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of body acceptance, Cooke playfully challenges some of the most oppressive misogynists of the 20th century: the beauty, fashion, and diet industries. Simultaneously funny and reassuring, Cooke boldly asserts her opinions and research on push-up bras (they dig and hurt), cellulite (it's a cosmetic company-induced condition, not a medical condition), and fashion models ("some of the most insecure, tortured souls around"). The cartoon illustrations offer comic and compassionate accents to this poignant discussion.
From Publishers Weekly
Australian filmmaker and newspaper columnist Cooke shoots as straight from the hip as Dr. Ruth when discussing body image. Although her jocular tone and clever cartoons often make this book more appropriate for young teens than adults (e.g., "Like a little old caterpillar programmed to become a butterfly, our grown-up shapes are already decided before we are born."), her no-nonsense pronouncements on the ultimate uselessness of moisturizer and the eating disorder- inducing tactics of the fashion industry are wonderfully refreshing. Some of this ground has already been covered, but Cooke's irreverence is all-inclusive: she reels off statistics and examples (particularly damaging are quotes from fashion magazines); doesn't wince from explaining why, scientifically speaking, "No cream or lotion in the world will firm or shape or enlarge or reduce your breasts"; and even supplies practical advice on how to deal with (or answer back to) people who feel compelled to comment on others' bodies. Cooke tries to be funny and very often succeeds, but she is never coy or condescending, and there is plenty of serious stuff mixed in with the cheery advice. Dissections of advertisements and their phony techno-speak are priceless, and her cartoons have the same mordant wit. A complete list of resources rounds out this hefty, funny reference.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Update:july 13.It's been a while since I've read over the book but I recently dusted it off my bookshelf and read it when I was feeling horrible and cranky.still love it and if you still haven't bought it it's worth keeping.My sisters love this book too since it's funny and educational at the same time.Kat offers many insights on products that are considered "must have" and gives a different view on self esteem compared to other women who have tried to written a book on women's self esteem.Her view is much more realistic or is just easier to understand.
Real Gorgeous is about body shapes, body parts, exercise, plastic surgery, fashion, dieting, advertising, modelling, eating disorders, responding to the body police and so much more. Yes, it's a women's book but it is often directed toward girls too. It touches on so many topics relating to the body and beauty; providing some research, some quotes and some of the authors own opinions. Each chapter has suggestions for further reading.
Real Gorgeous isn't a fat book but a body image book. Anyone is sure to find at least one of the anecdotes in the shadow boxes, placed throughout each chapter, to relate to. If there's one thing, this book shows it's that body image issues are more of a global issue than just within our group of friends. Canadians, Australians, and Americans are all dealing with similar issues regarding body image. Body image issues are also not delegated to one body type. Fat people don't have the monopoly on bad body image.
It acknowledges the impact of family, friends, media and self perception on body image. Cooke exposes the fashion and diet industry for what they are... People "trying to sell you something." She is quick to point out all the money we spend needlessly and what we're really getting for it. A real eye opener.
Cooke summarizes a lot of points from others work to back up what she's saying. Not a page goes by without a quote from someone else. Many relevant quotes from Penelope Goward appear. There are quite a few anonymous quotes like, "a New York make-up artist says..." which I found irritating and at times caused me to question their validity.
Sometimes it seems Cooke is checking to see if the reader is paying attention and will stick in nonsense comments, like during a listing of healthy eating she added, "Don't stick popcorn up your nose." Silly but unexpected and funny none the less.
There's an excellent section called Body Image Boosters the reader can return to again and again for ideas on how to give yourself a break from your own negativity. One of my favourite sections is what to say to the "Body Police". You know those people who never really have anything nice to say to you or who offer a compliment with a negative tag on the end.
Real Gorgeous is an informative, light read with many sections for the stop and start reader. It provides an alternative look at the body and beauty from a personal perspective and that of others. An excellent book to have around.
Review Originally Posted at [...]
For instance, this book claims you can do away with calorie-counting and bathroom scales completely WHILE another female cartoonist-author boasted in her own comic-style book that she got thin from exactly both of above. (And BTW, how do you tell how much weight you're losing AND putting on, too if you don't check on the scale now and then?) And it seems to be aimed at younger women, too (at least under 30.) How come? They are the target of media that is grooming them into idealized sex objects and brainwashing them into willing cash cows, too. (The way a little 13-year-old girl's comment bemoans how flat-chested she is or how gross her thighs are is pretty disturbing, IMHO.)
And the rest is just blah-blah about eating disorders, gynecologic stuff, and other female problems that have been mentioned before in countless other books, medical or otherwise.
So what else is new?
Most recent customer reviews
I am now wise beyond my years. No really, you learn a lot.