Monday, January 31, 2005


Heard an excellent interview with novelist Mary Gordon on Fresh Air today. I particularly liked what Gordon had to say about women and self-image:
One of the things that the women's movement hasn't touched because the culture has been too strong is this notion of the hatefulness of the female body. Women are more obsessed with weight than ever. There are more products on the market that tell us that there's something wrong with us. The boom in plastic surgery, which seems to me just bizarre, has come in the wake of the women's movement. So obviously we have done nothing to say that the female body is not in itself inherently hateful. ... I don't exactly know what it is. All I know is that every women I know spends too much time thinking about the way that she looks. And if she doesn't spend time thinking about the way she looks, then that can be a kind of self-hatred.

Listen to the whole interview here.

What she said particularly struck me because I know exactly what she's talking about. Almost every single one of my female friends has some anxiety about some part of her body: her thighs, her breasts, her height, etc. It doesn't help that so often clothes seem to be cut more for models than for average women, who tend to be shorter and curvier. My male friends rarely discuss any disgust they might have with their bodies. It might be that they don't want to share their anxieties with me, but I also think their physical appearance is just not as important to them.

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