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The Frailty Myth: Redefining the Physical Potential of Women and Girls
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The Frailty Myth: Redefining the Physical Potential of Women and Girls

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  134 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Can women be equal to men as long as men are physically stronger? And are men, in fact, stronger?
These are key questions that Colette Dowling, author of the bestselling The Cinderella Complex, raises in her provocative new book. The myth of female frailty, with its roots in nineteenth-century medicine and misogyny, has had a damaging effect on women's health, social status
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 11th 2001 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2000)
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Feb 21, 2011 Zelekha rated it it was amazing
Colette Dowling's book is LONG OVERDUE. In The Frailty Myth she provides the reader with a eye opening, informative and simultaneously disheartening look at how young girls, and women in general, are socially and culturally conditioned to live a physically underutilized existence in relation to men.

I am a long time reader of feminist literature and I've never really came across anything that comes remotely close to the in-depth sociohistorical investigation into the well-entrenched stereotype,
Izarra Varela
Jul 24, 2014 Izarra Varela rated it really liked it
An important book in the making of my psyche; I read it as a 20-year-old, marathon-running undergrad with a giant chip on my shoulder. I was just thinking about this book the other day, watching a clip from some American gameshow in which a woman (a woman!) conquers an obstacle course that was previously the domain of men alone.

We're gaining on you, fellas.
Mon Mor
Apr 10, 2015 Mon Mor rated it it was amazing
Amazing. I am a girl and I practice various fighting styles and this books warms my heart.

If you are a girl, you will see how REAL the situations portrayed and discussed are because you have, in fact, been through them many times. The "man are stronger than woman" has been made into a synonynous of "girls are not strong and physically able". This book delves into those ideas and how harmful they are for woman's general health.

It's historical, biographical and written in a woman to woman style.
Oct 20, 2014 Story rated it liked it
I remembered enjoying it very much, but I want to reread it with a keener eye, and then go research-diving. I remember Dowling's arguments as quite convincing, but there's much that I want to lay against other research I've since digested. Also... I never got back the copy I let someone borrow.
Jun 08, 2014 Josey rated it really liked it
An excellent, must-read book, with the caveat that she does not really attend to the intersections of race and class.
Jan 07, 2014 Bellkeyce rated it really liked it
While I highly enjoyed Dowling's research on the history of female physical confinement and the positive effects of sports on women's emotional, mental, financial, and physical health and safety (80% of the top women in fortune 500 positions were in sports in school)I would have liked to see more information on the physiological potential of women. It's widely known that women have much greater endurance than men beating them hands down in ultramarathons or open water swimming and I would've lik ...more
Feb 02, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
Lots of great points, a couple of "well, not really though" points around the middle, and the occasional very weird non sequitur. Chapters 1,2,3, and 7 very much recommended!
Dec 16, 2012 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Parts of this book made it very hard to get through. Yet it was still a gat book and brought to light a number of things I had not considered before. I think it accurately traces back to societal expectations the stereotypes that we all take as a given. I myself have been a continual proponent of the frailty myth, without considering the women are more than likely dissuaded from physical activity at such a young age that by the time they are adults, they don't have the history of experience and ...more
Jul 09, 2007 Clarissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is my first serious encounter with women's studies. I found myself realizing that I am one of many women that walk around fearful of crime and have never seriously questioned why. I finished this book feeling an sense of urgency about getting myself into shape and wanting the confidence that comes with being aware of the possibility of physical prowess in my own body. l@in, thank you, thank you, thank you for the (inadvertently) long term loan - this is a book that will change my life.
Mar 09, 2008 PJ rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone, especially athletes
This is a must-read for female athletes. It explores the myth the women are physically weak and incapable, tracing the history of the myth and the tremendous possibilities locked in every woman's body and mind. Love this.
Aug 13, 2010 Ellen rated it really liked it
pretty cool perspective on women and physical strength - how they are viewed, what they are taught about their bodies, how women are treated differently in the olypics.
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