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Fat Is Feminist Issue
Susie Orbach
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Fat Is Feminist Issue

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,115 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Here for the first time in one complete volume are the two international bestsellers that taught women not to be afraid to be thin. With Fat Is a Feminist Issue, psychotherapist Susie Orbach started a revolution. By uncovering deeply held fears and beliefs, women can understand how they use food to fill emotional and psychological needs. Realizing that food is not the enem ...more
Paperback, 0 pages
Published September 15th 1983 by Berkley (first published 1978)
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Occasionally you pick up and book and it turns out not to be what you expected. The edition of FIFI that I read actually included a second volume and introductions from 2005 and back, so I assume it's one of the most recent editions. I expected FIFI to be largely academic discourse on fat and feminism, and was surprised by how much it was an overeating self-help book. I wasn't sure I fully appreciated that.

Don't get me wrong, as an overeater I think much of the analysis of overeating rings utter
While I gave this book four stars I say that with rather significant hesitation: This book (in the original 1979 publication format) struck me as largely irrelevant to women of my generation (Y).

The central thesis of this book is that women are fat as a result of institutionalized patriarchy. Women unconsciously make themselves fat for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, to protect themselves from sexuality, to provide a buffer between their bodies and society, to feel they can
I have tried reading this several times. I get that it was "groundbreaking", but when I read it all I hear is the same old fat-hatred/fat-blaming. "But if you REALLY just love your self and let go of your NEED to be fat, then you will magically become thin! Because obviously everyone who is fat really just WANTS to be fat! It's not a diet book--it's an ANTI-diet book! Because it doesn't tell you to diet, see! It just tells you that everyone needs to WANT to be thin--to REALLY REALLY want it, and ...more
As a practical manual, Orbach's text is dated (it's subtitle in many editions was -- 'a self-help guide for compulsive eaters). But nonetheless, "Fat is a Feminist Issue" remains a keystone in the history of the way bodies have been constructed in American culture. It is surprising, but Orbach was the first to bring a psychoanalytic view of the body to mainstream American culture through this book.

In psychoanalytic terms, Orbach's central claim in this book is that obesity and dieting (and comp
This book will piss you off, and then it will set you free.
I have really mixed feelings about this book, mainly becasue it reads so much like a self-help title in too many places. I first read it years ago and now work in a higher education context where a large part of our programme deals with physical activity, exercise and health. Although I do some teaching in the area, it is not my research area at all: what astounds me about so much of what I read from those research programmes is their absolute failure to grapple with politics - I don't mean poli ...more
This is a book I have heard mentioned every now and then for many years and I have always wanted to know what the book was about. So when I saw a cheap used copy I couldn't resist buying it to find out.

I'm somewhat overweight and have many serious health problems, which contribute to my weight issues in a number of ways. I didn't expect to relate so much to the different reasons that I could be choosing to stay overweight, but after reading this book I now have no doubt that at least part of my
Bronwyn Milkins
This book was one of the first to talk about women's relationship with fat. There are some parts that are absolutely spot-on with regards to women's relationship with food, dieting, their own bodies and the bodies of other people. I found myself nodding energetically in agreement with these parts of the book. ... then there's the other part of the book; the psychoanalytic part. The psychoanalytic interpretation of fat is appealing because it is intuitive but I believe that this interpretation la ...more
This was okay, but it wasn't quite what I thought it might be. There were some considerations on how fat is viewed in society and how we should see this as a feminist issue, but mostly I found this to be a self help diet book to cure binge eating. Plus I thought it was quite sexist, which I was not prepared for, though I guess things have moved on somewhat since the 1970s.
Orbach says many true things about life for women, though nothing that will sound new to 2014 feminist readers. My initial summation, though, is ‘hogwash, the lot of it’.

Partly this reaction comes from the fact that I recognised this book as an influential feminist text but I didn’t realise how old it is. (About as old as me, it turns out.) For some reason I thought it dated from the 90s. It’s no coincidence that this book came out at the start of the 80s; its debut coincides with publication o
This book still held some revelations despite the fact that it was written before I was born. It goes well with the book "The Beauty Myth" which is more of a cultural expose while this book is more of a self help guide. However there is precious little discussion of how women today are held captive by the societal concepts of beauty so it's nice to have multiple books available on the subject. I suggest this book to any person who has ever had an issue with food and control, basically everybody.
Spook Harrison
Oct 08, 2011 Spook Harrison rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women & Men
While some situations regarding how women are treated have indeed changed between the original publication date of the book, FIFI II and the various editions, this book still had some amazing insights for me. I've always considered myself a feminist, and I've read quite a lot about how we relate to food as human beings and women, and still this book had a number of intriguing new ideas for me to mull over, and a few new ways to look at things. I really enjoyed the book.
Aug 10, 2008 Dee rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with "weight issues"
Shelves: most-favored
This book contributed to me learning to care about myself despite a lifelong struggle to weigh less. It particularly examines the symbolic nature of fat, eating, size, and society's norms for women and men. Several of us formed a group to study this book, and it was one of the most supportive and educational endeavors I have ever experienced.
Michael Palkowski
Antiquated and ultimately full of loose ends. Part of the issue is in combining two seemingly disparate areas of investigation without a clear bibliography or focus. The social position of woman in society is superimposed onto the psychoanalytic analysis of individual women. The psychoanalysis adopted is a hodgepodge apparently and there is no clarity as to what ideas are being applied. The analysis furthermore often contradicts itself within different individual cases. The thesis claims that in ...more
This set me reeling when I first read it. I have it on my shelf to read again, so I can digest it more carefully, but it just stunned me with the accuracy of its analysis of why we eat. There's a piece in there about someone eating a Mars bar and what that does for her, and doesn't do, which I read thinking she must have stepped inside my head.
Not at all what I'd been expecting from the title: I suppose I thought it might be something of a rant, but in fact it's a careful analysis of how we've g
Lily Kauffman
Very outdated and the general thesis of the book is troubling.
Basma Amin
I only read the parts that intrigued me or were new to me.
Sep 21, 2008 Tortla marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wishlist, feministy
Good ol' feminism.
This was *weird*. It was an interesting read, which posed engaging questions about gender, body issues, weight, and food. I don't think of myself as someone with disordered eating habits, nor particularly angsty about my body (less so than many women, I think), but it got me thinking about the food/self-care axis again, which is always relevant when I'm depressed.

More surprising was that it got me thinking about *the way I expect others to react* to my body (especially vis-a-vis size), and the
Rachael Quinn
This is one of those books that pops up a lot when you look into feminist literature. I have seen it on store shelves and in articles, on lists and cited in other works. What made me decide to pick up this book was simply that I decided to stop dieting and I wanted some form of support. When I told people that I wasn't going to diet anymore, it was implied by many people that I had just "given up." On the other hand, a lot of girls my own age were impressed by the very idea and acknowledged that ...more
Jul 27, 2009 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women, men, eaters
This book was completely different than what I was expecting.

I had heard about the book a long, long time ago. The title intrigued me, and it went on my mental "to read" list, where it resurfaced when I was looking for writings about body image issues. With the word "feminist" in the title, I expected it to be mostly about body acceptance in a society that says no woman is acceptable. Boy, was I wrong!

What was inside was a self-help book about compulsive eating, which can basically be defined as
marie monroe
This was so long ago that my dear friend i just recommended it to was maybe not even here yet?! It's been in print ever since it's debut and apparently still going strong.

Anyway, here's my deal with it: i don't really remember what's in here. What i remember is that I was 5'10", 135 lbs, excelling in 21 college hours, running 4-6 miles per day, living on protein powder and orange juice. I had 2 marriage proposals, several other men hidden away and I felt fat. Not fat as in too large, i finally r
Okay, so, body image.

Whoo boy, where do I start.

I'll go upfront with this, I'm not very sure about where I stand on this. There are feminists who completely disregard make-up and other tools of conventional beauty. From what I gather, every woman is beautiful exactly as she is and any attempt at change will only lead to frustration and anger and lowering of self esteem.

And then there is FIFI.

The theory at the heart of "Fat Is a Feminist Issue" is not that all women are perfect, but that they
Although I did get something out of the book for myself, I found it to be hugely outdated (content was originially published in 1978 and 1982, respectively) - I thought I was getting something more contemporary since it says "updated and with a new introduction" right on the cover.

I thought I was getting a feminist critique/viewpoint on body image / the way women's bodys are presented/sold and how it affects us etc. This book deals with compulsive overeating and ways to overcome it first and for
I've been puzzling over how I feel about this book. On one hand, I can definitely identify with the relationships between mothers, daughters, and food, and how our systematic inequalities end up manipulating mothers into socializing their daughters into being second-class citizens. But I felt uneasy with the contradictory stance of the book - how can it be anti-diet but then rest on the assumption that if a woman figures out why she wants to stay fat then she will become thin? Bodies don't neces ...more
Princess Kristin
I expected the book to be a feminist discussion of the beauty culture, but instead it was an overzealous self-help book for compulsive overeaters who hate their mothers... or maybe someone else, but probably still their mothers. It's always the mothers.

So, if you are a compulsive overeater who blames your mother for your problems, this is probably right up your alley. I found it unreadable and had no interest in finishing it.
Lud Oliveira
O livro começa bem, com várias ideias interessantes, o lado simbólico da gordura que a autora aponta me parece fazer algum sentido. Mas depois o livro vira muito "auto-ajuda" e se repete bastante, de modo que meu interesse pelo assunto já tinha desaparecido lá pelo metade da leitura.
eeeeh this is a really difficult book to rate so I'm going to improvise:

Enjoyment - 3/5
Important message - 4/5
Writing - 3/5
Editing - 2.5/5

I found the messages extremely inspirational and thought provoking however (like most self-help books) it was extremely repetitive from beginning to end regarding 2 or 3 of the same points, hence my low rating for editing.

However, this is a very important read for any woman - particularly those who consider themself to be a compulsive eater.

I loved the author
Some thirty years old but still relevent today. I felt the cover was somewhat misleading because it's not really a weight loss book but a book about the relationship of women and food, the expectations of society, and a woman's role as mother. Says something about how little society has changed in certain areas as I related to it even though we have supposedly come a long way since the seventies. Some things she addresses have changed a bit, but the contradictary pressures on women to be nurturi ...more
Fat is a Feminist Issue is sort of like the ancestor of books like FAT!SO? and Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere, but rather than preaching body acceptance this book is more like a self-help manual for compulsive over-eaters. You can definitely get a whiff of the advice that is given out in the more modern books.
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The F-word: February NON-FICTION Group Read FAT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE 8 43 Mar 10, 2014 03:59PM  
  • Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body
  • Bodies out of Bounds: Fatness and Transgression
  • The Fat Studies Reader
  • Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body
  • Bitches, Bimbos, and Ballbreakers: The Guerrilla Girls' Illustrated Guide to Female Stereotypes
  • The Obesity Myth: Why America's Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health
  • Feminism and Pop Culture
  • Feminism FOR REAL: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism
  • Whores and Other Feminists
  • We Don't Need Another Wave: Dispatches from the Next Generation of Feminists
  • Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men
  • Misogyny: The World's Oldest Prejudice
  • The Equality Illusion: The Truth About Women And Men Today
  • How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America
  • Transforming a Rape Culture
  • Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image
  • Jane Sexes It Up: True Confessions of Feminist Desire
  • The Essential Feminist Reader
Dr. Susie Orbach - the therapist who treated Diana, Princess of Wales, for her eating disorders; the founder of the Women's Therapy Center of London; a former columnist for The Guardian; a visiting professor at the London School of Economics; and the author of 1978 best-seller Fat is a Feminist Issue - is, aside from Sigmund Freud, probably the most famous psychotherapist to have ever set up couch ...more
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