Kirkus Review
Review of Body Outlaws

A spirited collection of frank personal reflections by young women who challenge society's notion of female identity. Edut, founder and publisher of HUES (Hear Us Emerging Sisters) magazine, has given voice here to a diverse community of young women who dispute the prevalent notions of beauty. A dominant theme here is the damage done to women by the mainstream media's veneration of thinness. Among the more unorthodox voices is that of Nomy Lamm, who refers to herself as "a fat, sleazy, one-legged anarchist dyke and a total hottie." Not only does she reject straight society's images of women, she fails to see much positive in feminism's ideals, as well. "I don't want to feel like I can't embellish my natural appearance, have fun with it, be a total girl if I wanna--it's called self-determination," she writes. And, indeed, self-determination is the battle call of all the young women included here. Erin J. Aubrey intends to flaunt her generous butt, even though the American Barbie-doll culture is determined to help her get rid of it. And, along with other African-Americans represented here, she comments on how black America has imbibed all of the white stereotypes and heightened them. Similarly, Lisa Jervis revels in her determination to keep her long Jewish nose, despite the pressures she felt from her "progressive" circle of family and friends to get it "fixed." Her resolve not to give in to the pressures to conform to the white, gentile notion of beauty is part of her Jewish identity. And whereas most of the voices here are expressions of unfettered sexuality, Keesa Schreane, raised as a Baptist, finds her liberation in abstinence. Perceiving her body as a temple, she's not ready to share it with anyone until she perceives herself as the complete person God meant her to be. A refreshingly unorthodox and muticultural contribution to women's studies that will especially appeal to the postfeminist generation.