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Appetites: Why Women Want by Caroline Knapp

Appetites: Why Women Want

by Caroline Knapp

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Much food for thought, going quite a bit beyond just eating disorders to hunger and desire -- of all types -- and why women feel compelled to deny them. Appetites includes numerous interviews with women, excerpts from classic feminist texts, and sociological statistics blended together in such a way to present a work that could be categorized as a cultural study. This title would, I believe, serve as a wonderful pick for a women’s book club that enjoys a more cerebral selection. For those with young daughters I believe it is particularly compelling as you are forced to realize the various gender characteristics you may unintentionally promote, even while, at the same time, each day you hate having to live under them and suffer their ill effects (‘promotion’ by virtue of the example we set as we accept them in our own lives). A reviewer on Amazon (“LCC”) adeptly summed up the general thrust of the book: “[it] focuses on the psychology of women and how society impacts women’s desires and sense of entitlement.” Appetites looks at what it means to feed, truly, the body and soul… and why so many women instead believe they deserve to starve. ( )
  SaraMSLIS | Mar 1, 2016 |
I would have liked this book a lot better had it been a full-on memoir, but then again, I have already read Drinking: A Love Story. It was just kind of like a rehash of The Beauty Myth and a lot of anecdotes about how women are socialized to hate ourselves. Maybe I would have been more open to it if I hadn't already read a ton of feminist books on the same topic. ( )
  lemontwist | May 21, 2014 |
I loved the line that said that fashion magazines say "Fuck me" to men and "Fuck you" to women. ( )
  aBohemian1 | Jul 11, 2012 |
One of the most thoughtful and beautifully written memoirs concerning anorexia I have read. Columnist Knapp examines her own journey through anorexia and recovery, and also ruminates on the many ways women thwart their own desires. I would recommend this to just about anyone. ( )
  ediedoll | Oct 5, 2010 |
Knapp is an extremely talented writer who is not afraid to use her own life to discuss issues that are important to her (just as she has done in her previous writing). With this book she discusses how women today are made to feel divorced from their own appetites, or made to feel they are not worthy of them. Subsequently, women end up 'acting out' by enforcing rules upon themselves that don't make sense when it comes to being happy, and indulging in behaviours that are harmful.
One thing I had a problem with in this book is Knapp's continual reference to the mother-daughter relationship and how that relates to how women see themselves. I think here she was extrapolating just a little too far from her own perceived experience and making it a universal condition. While the mother-daughter relationship can be an highly formative influence on women and how they see themselves and act as they grow up, I just don't buy that it is always so important for every woman as Knapp seems to imply. But this is not really a huge part of her hypothesis and does not really diminish greatly the overall argument she has to make.
I read this book just after finishing a book on Zen Buddhism, and while Knapp never mentions Buddhism once in her book, it is amazing that what she says - that happiness is to be found within not with external 'things' including items and relationships, that we need to accept who we are as we are if there is ever to be any mental peace in our lives - could easily fit within a Buddhist philosophy.
It is a sad fact that Caroline Knapp died in 2002, the year before this book was published. She was only 42 years old. ( )
  ForrestFamily | Sep 16, 2009 |
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Knapp, best-selling author of Drinking: A Love Story and Pack of Two, has turned her brilliant eye towards how a woman's appetite -for food, for love, for work, and for pleasure- is shaped and constrained by culture.

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