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The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls (original 1997; edition 1998)

by Joan Jacobs Brumberg

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7321512,784 (3.87)10
Member:lisamorgan
Title:The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls
Authors:Joan Jacobs Brumberg
Info:Vintage (1998), Edition: 1, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:2012, nonficiton, women's studies

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The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls by Joan Jacobs Brumberg (1997)

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In "The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls" Brumberg uses diary entries to chart the changing relationship between young women and their bodies over the past century and a half. She documents the shift from the Victorian era in which women and girls seldom mentioned their bodies in terms of strategies for self improvement or struggles for personal identity to the modern day when easily accessible and constant commercial interests play directly to body angst. Brumberg's goal, she says, is to "provoke the kind of intergenerational conversation about female bodies that most adult women like myself have wished for but never really had." It is a book more women need to read- perhaps with their mothers, sisters, cousins, or friends, in hopes that together we can begin to discuss our bodies in modern, more loving and accepting terms in order to bridge the gap between social body expectations and a woman's relationship to her body. Much thought is put into what adolescent girls have gained and lost as American women moved from the Victorian corset and the dangerous ideal of purity and virginity shed for a perhaps equality dangerous new ideal of dieting and body sculpting, and asks the reader to question how we define sexual freedom and self expression. ~Sarah R.
  muwomenscenter | May 31, 2013 |
The attitude towards subjects from haircuts, make-up, clothing, social status, ethnic/color, pimples, dieting and exercising to girls losing their virginity is no longer taboo in the 21st century. It has drastically changed since the Victorian era, which focused on intellect, etiquette and making the right social choices that a girl should make. I believe The Body Project is still very prevalent among girls today because it helps define their self worth, esteem and value for acceptance in the world. The menarche seems to be the common thread throughout The Body Project which suggests there’s something about coming into puberty and the once-a-month course of a woman’s life that keeps her on a pendulum of change. The slimming of Yvonne Blue was intriguing because this exists now and the “protective umbrella” is declining on a much larger scale. We must find ways to continue the advocacy that fosters forums leading to a healthier and creative future for this next generation of girls.
  wanda2 | Jun 11, 2012 |
I liked it. Good study of girls maturing all the way from the Victorian age to the present. Brumberg points out that support and protection from the unrelenting self-scrutiny that the market place and media thrive on, exacerbates self consciousness and encourages precocious sexuality (pg 197).
  patrish11 | May 14, 2012 |
not only the history of exploitation of girls, but what has worked and hasn't worked in terms of change. Offers practical steps in helping to make sincere changes towards offering some relief or protection in this culture that encourages prococious sexuality. I liked this book, it was an eye opener to the horrific abuses heaped on girl children, but also offers hope, not only for our children of the world, but to us as people in power to promote change.
  Patrish2 | May 14, 2012 |
This one isn't abandoned forever! I just fell into a reading swamp!!! There is too much!!
  sshadoan | Nov 10, 2011 |
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Epigraph
"I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns...."
--Elizabeth Cady Stanton, "Our Girls"
"My hopes of the future rest upon the girls. My patriotism clings to the girls. I believe America's future pivots on this great woman revolution."
--Dioclesian Lewis, Our Girls
Dedication
For Madeline Rand Brumberg and Isabel Fenwick Brumberg
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At the close of the twentieth century, the female body poses an enormous problem for American girls, and it does so because of the culture in which we live. (Introduction)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679735291, Paperback)

Adolescent girls today face the issues girls have always faced: "Who am I?" and "Who do I want to be?" Unfortunately their answers, now more than ever before, revolve around the body rather than the mind, heart, or soul. "The body is at the heart of the crisis that [Carol] Gilligan, [Mary] Pipher, and others describe.... The fact that American girls now make the body their central project is not an accident or a curiosity," writes Brumberg, "it is a symptom of historical changes that are only now beginning to be understood." The historical photos, thorough research, and political even-handedness make this a book of worth and sincerity. The Body Project is also comforting for women, adolescents, parents, lesbians, and male lovers of women--helping us sort out the roots of female insecurities, obsessions, and angst.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:53 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Presents historical evidence, based on research that includes the diaries of American girls written between the 1830s and 1990s, to show how the process of maturation has changed since the nineteenth century, making young women more anxious than ever before about their bodies and themselves.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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