Joanna's Reviews > The Good Body

The Good Body by Eve Ensler
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Mar 01, 10

bookshelves: 100-books-2010, plays
Read in February, 2010

** spoiler alert ** I did not care for this book at all. I wonder if I saw it presented on stage, if that would change my opinion, but I disliked it so much that I'd be unlikely to give any money or time to be exposed to it again.

First of all, there is really nothing new in terms of the style or presentation of material. Ensler is using the same structure as The Vagina Monologues, the only difference is that this work focuses on her stomach and she herself gets a lot of stage time.

Although there were a few thought provoking moments - her assertion that all women throughout the world, regardless of their race or class, when asked one thing that could be changed that would really improve their lives, most answered in a way that related to changing some part of their physical bodies.

First of all, there is no citation for that. Who did this study? And how?

Also, the liposuction description was revolting. But it was so revolting that I imagine it will stick with me for sometime.

The piece about the Cosmo editor who works so hard to reshape herself, and ends by saying that her husband thinks she is beautiful, but he doesn't count, "Because he loves me." That was a really interesting section, but more in terms of the way that we discount the opinions of important people in our lives, as opposed to anything really revealing about body image.

I think the part of this book that disturbed me the most was how much Eve Ensler focused on her own stomach issues. If you want to navel gaze, fine. But don't try to make it something that it's not. Don't try to make it a play about the body image issues of women all over the world.

The global focus was also somewhat offensive. When Eve Ensler refuses to eat bread that is being offered to her in Africa, I wanted to smack her. Maybe that is the point. But still. Never did she seem to acknowledge the complete privilege of her position and the luxury it is to be able to refuse food at all.

When she is taken out for ice cream, which is forbidden by the Taliban, her host is risking her life so that Eve freaking Ensler can feel like eating ice cream is okay in this moment due to it being an act of political rebellion. Give me a break!

Also, the extent to which Ensler selects stories where women of all ages blame their mothers for their body image issues is pretty shocking.

Urgh. It also seems like this play is not even the story of how a woman learned to love her body. Or how a woman overcame her struggle with body image. This really seems to be a play about how Eve Ensler travels all over disliking her stomach. I have no opinion about her particular stomach, but I now have no stomach for Eve Ensler.
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