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Body of Truth: How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession with Weight--and What We Can Do about It by Harriet Brown

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Chapter 5

The Truth About Beauty

              “I wondered if I could truly see myself at all. One day I found myself all-right-looking and relatively slim . . . and the next day I saw a sagging, bulbous grotesque. How could one account for the change except with the thought that self-image is unreliable at best?”

—Siri Hustvedt, The Blazing World

              “If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.”

—Gail Dines, professor of sociology and

women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston

One of my favorite assignments in the class I teach on body diversity comes early in the semester. I ask students to bring in media images of bodies they think are thin, fat, ...

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