Presentation Of Susan Bordo "Reading the Slender Body"

Essay by freefaderUniversity, Bachelor's December 2003

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Issues of dieting, fat, and slenderness are hot topics in our culture. Bordo addresses them from a postmodern, but historical, feminist perspective. In this essay, she attempts to explain the appeal of slenderness in our society; and also, how the ideology of normal our society holds can be mentally and physically damaging for many people.

So, what does it mean to be slender? The ideas behind slenderness have changed considerably throughout human existence. The Greeks believed that the regulation of food consumption would lead to self mastery and achieve moderation. Christians during the middle ages thought of fasting as a way to cleanse to spiritual body. Then around the end of the 19th century, people began to view the physical body as the enemy rather than the soul.

Hoping to defeat the body, our culture has created a booming market of diets, cosmological surgery, and exercising equipment. The body management market feeds off the trends found in movies and music videos, on fashion runways, and in advertisements.

With every new trend, comes a new body style. Remember the nineties when Kate Moss was on the runways. Her body had the shape of a 13 year old boy. No curves, no shape. Yet, she was in every magazine wearing Calvin Klein's clothes. What about now. Pink and her fit body with cuts in her muscles at her hips as we have been seeing men, like D'Angelo and Usher, sculpting. It may seem as though there is nothing wrong with wanting to achieve this idealized view of health found in our culture, but what happens when the pursuit goes wrong?

Bordo begins by showing how flab became the enemy. As our culture changes, so does the idea of the perfect body. Thin is not the goal anymore. An athletic build, free of...