Good Body

Good Body

4.6 3
by Eve Ensler

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"The Good Body starts with Eve Ensler's tortured relationship with her own "post-forties" stomach and her skirmishes with everything from Ab Rollers to fad diets and fascist trainers in an attempt to get the "flabby badness" out. As Eve hungrily seeks self-acceptance, she is joined by the voices of women from L.A. to Kabul, whose obsessions are also laid bare: A young…  See more details below


"The Good Body starts with Eve Ensler's tortured relationship with her own "post-forties" stomach and her skirmishes with everything from Ab Rollers to fad diets and fascist trainers in an attempt to get the "flabby badness" out. As Eve hungrily seeks self-acceptance, she is joined by the voices of women from L.A. to Kabul, whose obsessions are also laid bare: A young Latina candidly critiques her humiliating "spread," a stubborn layer of fat that she calls "a second pair of thighs." The wife of a plastic surgeon recounts being systematically reconstructed - inch by inch - by her "perfectionist" husband. An aging magazine executive, still haunted by her mother's long-ago criticism, describes her desperate pursuit of youth as she relentlessly does sit-ups." Along the way, Eve also introduces us to women who have found a hard-won peace with their bodies: an African mother who celebrates each individual body as a sign of nature's diversity, and an Indian woman who transcends "treadmill mania" and delights in her plump cheeks and curves. Then there is the veiled Afghani woman who is willing to risk imprisonment for a taste of ice cream. These are just a few of the inspiring stories woven through Eve's global journey from obsession to enlightenment. Ultimately, these monologues become a personal wake-up call from Eve to love the "good bodies" we inhabit.

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Editorial Reviews

In her solo show The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler explored women's relationships with the most tabooed part of their anatomy. In The Good Body, she delves into the wider implications of female body image, reminding us how women change and mutilate themselves to conform to societal expectations. Whether by submitting to Botox or concealing themselves under burkhas, women of all cultures feel compelled to gain acceptance. Drawing on narratives overheard in locker rooms, boardrooms, and cell blocks, Ensler's monologues expose our most repressed selves.

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Random House Publishing Group
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When I was a little girl people used to ask me, What do you want to be when you grow up? Good, I would say. I want to be good. Becoming good was harder than becoming a doctor or an astronaut or a lifeguard. There are tests to pass to become those things–you have to learn dissection or conquer gravity or practice treading water.

Becoming good was not like that. It was abstract. It felt completely out of reach. It became the only thing that mattered to me. If I could be good, everything would be all right. I would fit in. I would be popular. I would skip death and go straight to heaven. If you asked me now what this means, to be good, I still don’t know exactly.

When I was growing up in the fifties, “good” was simply what girls were supposed to be. They were good. They were pretty, perky. They had a blond Clairol wave in their hair. They wore girdles and waist cinchers and pumps. They got married. They looked married.
They waited to be given permission. They kept their legs together, even during sex.

In recent years, good girls join the Army. They climb the corporate ladder. They go to the gym. They accessorize. They wear pointy, painful shoes. They wear lipstick if they’re lesbians; they wear lipstick if they’re not. They don’t eat too much. They don’t eat at all. They stay perfect. They stay thin. I could never be good.

This feeling of badness lives in every part of my being. Call it anxiety or despair. Call it guilt or shame. It occupies me everywhere. The older, seemingly clearer and wiser I get, the more devious, globalized, and terrorist the badness becomes. I think for many of us–well, for most of us–well, maybe for all of us–there is one particular part of our body where the badness manifests itself, our thighs, our butt, our breasts, our hair, our nose, our little toe. You know what I’m talking about?

It doesn’t matter where I’ve been in the world, whether it’s Tehran where women are–smashing and remodeling their noses to looks less Iranian, or in Beijing where they are breaking their legs and adding bone to be taller, or in Dallas where they are surgically whittling their feet in order to fit into Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos.

Everywhere, the women I meet generally hate one particular part of their bodies. They spend most of their lives fixing it, shrinking it. They have medicine cabinets with products devoted to transforming it. They have closets full of clothes that cover or enhance it. It’s as if they’ve been given their own little country called their body, which they get to tyrannize, clean up, or control while they lose all sight of the world.

What I can’t believe is that someone like me, a radical feminist for nearly thirty years, could spend this much time thinking about my stomach. It has become my tormentor, my distracter; it’s my most serious committed relationship. It has protruded through my clothes, my confidence, and my ability to work. I’ve tried to sedate it, educate it, embrace it, and most of all, erase it.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Good Body 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
JaneBrain More than 1 year ago
This book is really an anecdotal exploration of the kind of relationships - both positive and negative - women have with their own physical bodies. The stories retold by Eve Ensler in this book are both shocking and humorous. The stories are very poignant and as always Ensler focuses on the theme of how women relate to their bodies. The entire book is an easy but enjoyable read. I finished it in about an hour.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Steeley More than 1 year ago
This book is great to get women (and men) thinking about body image and the common thread that seems to exist among many women when they think about their bodies. Nearly every single woman has something that she hates about her body and in this book, I started to ask myself why. Eve interviews women around the world, including a woman from Africa who talks about loving her body. This seems like a foreign concept to Eve (in the book) and to me! Get this book if you want to feel better about your body and realize how many women are in your same position!