martha's Reviews > Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body

Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters by Courtney E. Martin
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Nov 24, 2007

liked it
bookshelves: 2008, nonfiction
Read in August, 2008

I'm trying to read more feminist stuff and started here.

The good: I liked how she talks about a culture of weight obsession, in which girls feed off each other (so to speak) in their attitudes about food and body image.

The bad: I think nearly everyone would accept the premise of this book -- women in our culture have troubling relationships with food and body image -- as a given, yet the majority of the book is given over to proving that.

This reminded me in some ways of Reviving Ophelia -- how it used anecdotes from real girls and women to discuss a larger, societal problem. I wish she'd devoted more of the book to talking about how to actually address the problems -- as it was, it was many chapters of showing how messed up women are about food, then one about what to do about it, and that was pretty thin on actual tangible actions. I did like how she addressed the role of religion and/or spirituality in helping some women cope with their body issues. But I also agree with other reviews here that think she used the lens of perfectionism too heavily when looking at eating disorders -- obviously it's relevant in some cases, but obviously not in all.
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