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Women and Dieting Culture: Inside a Commercial Weight Loss Group / Edition 1

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Overview

American women invest millions of dollars, as well as much time and energy, in a quest for a body that meets our culture’s standard of beauty—slenderness. Since we define a woman’s sexual attractiveness as essential to her social worth, it is no wonder that “fat is a feminist issue.”

Commercial weight loss organizations have come under attack from feminist scholars for perpetuating the very social values that cause women to obsess about their weight. In Women and Dieting Culture, sociologist Kandi Stinson asks how these values are transmitted and how the women who join such organizations actually think about their bodies and weight loss. As part of her research, Stinson fully participated in a national, commercial weight-loss organization as a paying member. Her acute analysis and sensitive insider’s portrayal vividly illustrate the central roles dieting and body image play in women’s lives.

            As she experiences the program and interviews other members, Stinson discovers that the women view the causes and cures of being overweight according to five distinct, though often overlapping, concepts: self-help, work, religion, addiction, and feminism. Drawing extensively on the dieters’ own words, Stinson explores each of these concepts and outlines how they form interrelated patterns which, when analyzed, yield an exciting new perspective on the transmission of cultural values.

            Armed with fresh insights into how women feel about weight and their bodies, Stinson finally ponders the question: Can one be a feminist and still wish to lose weight?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813529493
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Eating, Dieting, and Being Female 1
2 In the Beginning 31
3 "I Couldn't Have Done It Alone" 58
4 "You Just Have to Keep at It" 95
5 "The Body Is a Temple" 120
6 "If I Had a Plan" 160
7 "Be Your Own Best Friend" 180
8 Speaking of Weight 202
References 217
Index 229
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