Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Cult of Thinness” as Want to Read:
The Cult of Thinness
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Cult of Thinness

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  124 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Whether they are rich or poor, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist, thriving or stagnat, most American women have on thing in common--they want to be thin--or thinner. And they are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to get that way, even to the point of starving themselves. Why are America's women so preoccupied with weight? Is there more to this preoccupatio ...more
Paperback, 271 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published October 30th 1997)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Cult of Thinness, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Cult of Thinness

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 335)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Cara
Jul 28, 2008 Cara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents, people struggling with body image or eating disorders
Why I liked it in one sentence: The Cult of Thinness shifts the focus of disordered eating from the individual or family unit to the dominant culture we live in- - steeped in a false mind/body dichotomy, rampant capitalism, and impossible/ destructive gender ideals.
Why it didn't get 5 stars: Didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know, and most of the author's research focused on white middle class undergrads (surprise, surprise), so was somewhat limited in scope.
Bottom line: Worth read
...more
Oleg Kagan
I read this book to help me facilitate a discussion forum on Body Image and the Media at my library on February 22nd, 2011.

Am I Thin Enough Yet? has a lot of the same information as other books on body image but it is presented in a more scholarly way (w/ footnotes) and from a pronounced perspective (2nd-wave feminism). I believe that this book is also notable for introducing the phrase 'the cult of thinness' into the lexicon.

Particularly useful for us during the forum was the section that expl
...more
Melissa
It was an okay book. I discovered it in a humanities class when it was on the reading list. I took it out from the library to read again.

It affected me on a personal level. So many things in the book I could relate to.

I liked this book because it wasn't just about eating disorders; it was about the context surrounding the drive to be thin, and proposed the notion of a culture, or a "cult of thinness".

I wished the book did more. Like someone said before, there was nothing in the book that I did
...more
Michael
There are definitely a lot of interesting ideas to play with in this short and dense read. Questions are articulated in a way that wouldn't have occurred to me.

The mind-body dichotomy described, in which men and women are separated (implicitly) by the culture into mental faculties and physical characteristics, respectively. Its roots are traced as far back as Aristotle, who posits that women are essentially soulless and evil, and men pure and intellectual. If the soul is really just the reificat
...more
Jess
Borrowing on the success of The Beauty Myth, Hesse-Biber offers this argument - that the socio-cultural preoccupation with policing bodies and weight is a cult which we are initiated into from birth. Starting in the 1960s, it has grown into it's own self actualised being that no longer needs gate keepers to sustain it. Her arguments are sound, and as with other similar analyses, oft uses highly emotional knowledge. On the whole, the book is an easy read, and is light on academic language.

I read
...more
Merrie Harris
This is another fascinating book about cultural pressures and how the female body is somehow still owned by society. I have my own food/body issues, including but not limited to being able to eat in front of people. This book discusses how young girls especially are taught early on if they are thin, pretty and good girls they will attract the right guy and live happily ever after. Makes one wonder if women's lib ever happened. There is also some shocking information about the booming industry of ...more
Kara

Well written and dense, packing a lot into one slim volume, a perfect balance between anecdotal evidence in the form of life stories told by the people Prof. Hesse-Biber interviewed and the cold hard facts and figures she lays out. Beyond all the problems people are developing by being taught to hate their own bodies, the part I found the most eye opening was when she points out how much money there is to be made by making people miserable, offering all sorts of expensive and dubious products an
...more
Siobhan
This is a great book for everyone! I loved how the writer included the voices of different genders across a variety of cultural sub groups. Including the voices of hetero men, gay men, femme and butch lesbians, black women and men, hispanic women and men, girls around the age of six and twenty something college women was wonderfully inclusive! A great book for your own self image as well as a great book for research! This book has inspired me to make a film on this subject!
Alice
Jun 11, 2007 Alice rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the laydeez
Very disturbing look at how the cult of thin has effectively made slaves of all white women in the 20th century. It examines dieting habits of women throughout the 1920s-today, looks at eating disorder prevalence, how being thin has become the unattainable standard, and how all of this has affected our society as a whole. A really great book.
Emma
another book that will make you hate capitalism...a very revealing and insightful critique of society's emphasis on thinness for women and men...
Frank
Very nice study of appearance-obsession...but would benefit from some of the theory in Bryan S. Turner's The Body and Society.
Morgan
Morgan marked it as to-read
Dec 19, 2014
Ailen Elias
Ailen Elias marked it as to-read
Dec 19, 2014
Lisa
Lisa added it
Dec 04, 2014
Jen
Jen marked it as to-read
Oct 31, 2014
Maprow Suttiluck
Maprow Suttiluck marked it as to-read
Oct 12, 2014
Sanjana
Sanjana marked it as to-read
Sep 08, 2014
Cat_ski
Cat_ski marked it as to-read
Aug 30, 2014
She'ifa Zera
She'ifa Zera marked it as to-read
Aug 29, 2014
Denise
Denise marked it as to-read
Aug 13, 2014
Clarissa Schauseil
Clarissa Schauseil marked it as to-read
Aug 05, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Hunger Pains
  • The Golden Cage: The Enigma of Anorexia Nervosa
  • Next to Nothing: A Firsthand Account of One Teenager's Experience with an Eating Disorder
  • Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa
  • Going Hungry: Writers on Desire, Self-Denial, and Overcoming Anorexia
  • Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body
  • Feed Me!: Writers Dish About Food, Eating, Weight, and Body Image
  • Solitaire: The Compelling Story of a Young Woman Growing up in America and Her Triumph over Anorexia
  • Food and Loathing: A Life Measured Out in Calories
  • Bodies out of Bounds: Fatness and Transgression
  • Anorexia: A Stranger in the Family
  • Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationship with Food Through Myths, Metaphors, and Storytelling
  • Read My Hips: How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting, and Live Large
  • Dilemmas of Desire: Teenage Girls Talk about Sexuality
  • Life-Size
  • Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure: Working Women, Popular Culture, and Labor Politics at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
  • Fat Politics: The Real Story Behind America's Obesity Epidemic
  • Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image
Feminist Research Practice: A Primer Feminist Perspectives on Social Research Feminist Approaches to Theory and Methodology: An Interdisciplinary Reader Working Women in America: Split Dreams The Practice of Qualitative Research

Share This Book