The World Has Curves: The Global Quest for the Perfect Body books – Vansonphu.com


The World Has Curves: The Global Quest for the Perfect Body Warning long, and rife with semi relevant history geekery When I initially requested this book from the First Reads program, it was from a long standing interest in body image and related issues, as well as ageneral interest in learning about cultures unfamiliar to me When I saw that the book was published by Rodale, who also publishes Prevention magazine and its related publications, I was a bit concerned that I might have requested a diet book in disguise, but luckily, such was not the Warning long, and rife with semi relevant history geekery When I initially requested this book from the First Reads program, it was from a long standing interest in body image and related issues, as well as ageneral interest in learning about cultures unfamiliar to me When I saw that the book was published by Rodale, who also publishes Prevention magazine and its related publications, I was a bit concerned that I might have requested a diet book in disguise, but luckily, such was not the case Instead, Savacool s book is a generally well researched discussion of the economic importance of having the perfect body and how and why the definition of perfection varies from place to place Body image, food, and weight can all be touchy subjects, and thus I d imagine very difficult to write about with objectivity Savacool puts forward her thesis that in the US, having a perfect body is a sign of social status and economic success as a fact neither to be censured nor admired, and concludes that the gap between the average woman s figure and her ideal body is not likely to disappear soon In chapters 4 through 9, she examines the ideal women s body in such diverse areas as China, Afghanistan, and Figi, including personal accounts from women of different generations in each region, and relating their experiences to the culture and social reality of the region In South Africa, for example, thinness is looked down on and weight loss is feared as a sign of ill health due to the high prevalence of HIV In Japan, where the traditional ideal is both reflected in and shaped by the kimono, younger women have embraced astream lined yet surgically enhanced figure to distance themselves from tradition and the past I really enjoyed reading these women s stories, and very much appreciated that Savacool did not pass judgment on the various body ideals, the philosophies behind them, or the means used to achieve them Every reader brings certain biases with them when they pick up a book, and I found I had a really difficult time setting mine aside while reading The World Has Curves, but not in the way you might think Like I said, this is not a diet book, and Savacool s objective stance meant that I did not feel that my own body was either being praised or under attack I think no matter what your figure type, there is a place mentioned in this book where it would be considered lovely However, Savacool s attempt to contextualize women s body issues in the West begins with the ancient Greeks, and despite consulting with or at least quoting a couple professors of Classics, her discussion is somewhat shallow and contains one rather big mistake The section in which Savacool discusses the Greeks is very brief, and the error means almost nothing to her argument I could argue that messing up on Vitruvius does not necessarily mean she will commit similar errors when discussing the Taliban or Chairman Mao However, the cursory consideration of the Greeks troubles me for two reasons 1 Is it really possible to discuss the predominance of the Greek male nude in sculpture and painting and not mention Greek pederasty Because Savacool does, and that s odd More importantly, for the purposes of this study.2 There actually are a lot of nude women in Attic vase paintings, but they are primarily prostitutes, i.e slaves or former slaves, non citizen women Had Savacool done a bitresearch, she might have noticed that NOT having one s body on display or visible was the often unattainable ideal for Athenian women, and that this ideal was seen to reflect upon their males fathers, husbands, custodial brothers or uncles, etc Knowing this would have given Savacool some interesting comparative material, and not just most obviously for modern societies that practice veiling, i.e Afghanistan In South Africa, Savacool s subjects say, a man cares for his women by keeping her well fed in Classical Athens, he cared for them by keeping them out of sight.Aside from my Kim specific curmudgeonry about the Classical material, the other area in which I did feel Savacool fell a little short was when she tried to synthesize the material she presented into a coherent whole Each chapter from 4 through 9 could, with very little reworking, be made to stand on its own as an article, and they also followed after each other and related to the thesis nicely However, when she got to her conclusion, in which one generally restates the thesis and offers further insight, Savacool seemed to drop her objectivity in favor of advocacy, specifically of aactive and fit ideal While I agree that this is aempowering image than we typically see in the media these days, I was a bit dismayed that Savacool could have done all this research into very diverse notions of beauty and come up with a single ideal ideal Many of the women she interviewed are aware that their individual body types don t fit with cultural norms, and Savacool herself predicts that the gap between American women and their ideal figures will only widen, yet she calls for a happily positive, proactive future a society in which women aspire to be slim and strong, and one that has moved beyond that quaint time in our past where simply being skinny was good enough to call yourself a success p 189 For me, that positive, proactive future must also include an awareness that women s bodies come in diverse shapes and sizes, and an understanding that, however healthy it is, there were always be problems with having a single ideal She claims that the Roman Vitruvius is credited with inspiring Phidias s works p 28 rather impossible, given that Vitruvius lived in the 1st century BC and Phidias four centuries before him In the 21st century, that is I m sure thehomophobic societies of the past did so most of the time This book explores worldwide views on the ideal female body how they differ from country to country, and how they influence individual behavior and also large scale economics within an individual country I found this book surprisingly high level, with not a very in depth analysis of anything Yes, it included detailed testimonies from individual woman from various countries illustrating how the ideal female body differs geographically, and why , but the overall discussion of conclusions was k This book explores worldwide views on the ideal female body how they differ from country to country, and how they influence individual behavior and also large scale economics within an individual country I found this book surprisingly high level, with not a very in depth analysis of anything Yes, it included detailed testimonies from individual woman from various countries illustrating how the ideal female body differs geographically, and why , but the overall discussion of conclusions was kind of lacking For example, the author notes how less educated women are less informed or concerned with scientific data suggesting that obesity leads to health problems Well, why Do they read less Do they care less Do they read the stuff but have other priorities It doesn t say In the same paragraph it is noted that less educated womens peers exert less peer pressure to stay thin, as opposed to highly educated womens peers Well, why It doesn t say.So, I found the book only skimmed the surface of a lot of issues that I wanted to readin depth about It seemed like it ended before I knew it, and could ve been twice as long and used a lotsubstance in its conclusion section.I did appreciate one final theory though the author thinks that skinniness for the sake of skinniness will be replaced by a desire among women to be buff and strong, using as evidence the recent rapidly escalating rates of women participating in trialthons, marathons, Ironmen, and other intense endurance competitions The author theorizes that buffness and strength isof a real accomplishment because of the time and effort it entails than purely simply skinniness, which can be achieved by a total lack of doing i.e not eating rather than an intense, focused effort i.e strength training, for which there are no shortcuts.I also found interesting the author s theory on why Americans are SO immensely obese, and yet our feminine ideal is SO ridiculously thin Our difference in ideal vs reality isextreme than anywhere else Americans are just warning anti American rant ahead so spoiled and used to getting what they want be it increasingly huge McMansions, super sized meals, etc that they want it all to be super thin yet be able to eat at the all you can eat buffet, too This results in people not doing it the hard yet only way eating less and exercising, but rather trying the latest and great diet pills, gastric bypass surgery, magical low fat pills or food substitutes, or whatever new shortcut is on the market The shortcuts never work and thus we growenormous because we think we deserve to consume whatever we want while at the same time our ideal shape gets thinner Once somebody invents a truly successful weight loss drug, which might be inevitable, i.e a fat blocker, or calorie shedder, or whatever and everybody becomes thin, what then What will then be the new feminine ideal For a relatively short book, it seemed like this one took me forever to read I found the content interesting enough, but it was one of those books where you pick it up, read a bit of it, then when you put it down you forget about it for a week at a time I never quite felt like I just had to get back to it.Savacool explores the worldwide search for the ideal female body type, the lengths women will go to in order to attain it and how this has all been affected by globalisation, a topic in whi For a relatively short book, it seemed like this one took me forever to read I found the content interesting enough, but it was one of those books where you pick it up, read a bit of it, then when you put it down you forget about it for a week at a time I never quite felt like I just had to get back to it.Savacool explores the worldwide search for the ideal female body type, the lengths women will go to in order to attain it and how this has all been affected by globalisation, a topic in which the author contradicted herself a few times.I enjoyed the examination of different beauty standards around the world, though it seems as though at times she actually tries to defend the endless pursuit for beauty as a form of empowerment rather than the consumer driven exploitation she uncovers it to be in the 21st century I found the first chapters, where Savacool discusses theories of beauty, very intelligent and well researched However her cross cultural exploration was quite shallow Generally, I think the book would have been better if Savacool put some of her own motives and story in it. I saw this book in a magazine most likely a fashion one, but I can t recall which magazine and decided to add it to my library list of books to read I enjoyed reading how different cultures define a woman s perfect body It wasn t a complete surprise to see how their views change over time and access to media TV, internet, etc It was a good book, and if you have any interest in the thoughts behind constant quest on the perfect body and how it changes from culture to culture take time to re I saw this book in a magazine most likely a fashion one, but I can t recall which magazine and decided to add it to my library list of books to read I enjoyed reading how different cultures define a woman s perfect body It wasn t a complete surprise to see how their views change over time and access to media TV, internet, etc It was a good book, and if you have any interest in the thoughts behind constant quest on the perfect body and how it changes from culture to culture take time to read this book Julia Savacool s has a great way of writing about a sensitive topic She includes various research findings, observations and personal stories from women around the world Her goal was to offer women a slightly different perspective on a topic that is significantlyintimate than the expansion of balance sheets, but equally relevant to a conversation about where our world was headed Goal accomplished I have a new perspective and respect for women s bodies Especially my own curves The sto Julia Savacool s has a great way of writing about a sensitive topic She includes various research findings, observations and personal stories from women around the world Her goal was to offer women a slightly different perspective on a topic that is significantlyintimate than the expansion of balance sheets, but equally relevant to a conversation about where our world was headed Goal accomplished I have a new perspective and respect for women s bodies Especially my own curves The stories from women in South Africa, China, Jamaica, Fiji, USA and Afghanistan were my favorite parts American women today are faced with a paradox they uphold an ideal of beauty long, lean, toned that increasingly bears little resemblance to truth about their size Women around the world are spending time, money, and energy pursuing this ideal than ever before So why does the perfect body remain so elusive And why does the definition of ideal vary so widely between countries and cultures The World Has Curves is journalist Julia Savacool s attempt to answer these questions She takes readers on a world tour from China, where the plastic surgery industry is booming to South Africa, where a heavier shape signals health in a country ravaged by disease to Afghanistan, where the burka once again reigns supreme Through extensive reporting and intimate interviews, she offers readers an understanding of how body ideals in America and abroad have come to be inextricably linked to the economics of a culture and the impact of globalization From news programs to reality shows, from prime time comedy to national advertising campaigns, the topic of women s bodies and our collective judgment of the perfect shape is ever present This engaging narrative is newsworthy and provocative and will advance our cultural conversation I won this through a Goodreads giveaway Looking forward to receiving it Update Finally had the opportunity to read this book The book presented a very interesting look at body image, and the image of the perfect body in cultures around the world I appreciated the cultural comparisons, and especially liked the personal stories of women that were included I appreciate that approach, and feel like it adds depth to the facts in each chapter I also liked that each chapter was referenced I won this through a Goodreads giveaway Looking forward to receiving it Update Finally had the opportunity to read this book The book presented a very interesting look at body image, and the image of the perfect body in cultures around the world I appreciated the cultural comparisons, and especially liked the personal stories of women that were included I appreciate that approach, and feel like it adds depth to the facts in each chapter I also liked that each chapter was referenced with good sources Enjoyed learning about how different cultures define beauty All had different motivations for wanting the perfect body It seems like regardless of the type, the shame and guilt for not achieving the ideal body seemed to bring great stress into their lives As a man in America I found this book helpful with painting a picture of what women go through constantly Which is being judged on ever facet of their bodies. Reading this book felt like reading a book report As if the author wrote the book just to write a book Some of the information was really interesting but most was intuitive I enjoyed reading what different cultures view as the ideal body, and getting perspective from an older and younger woman in each culture I just think the format was dry.


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