Review of Body Outlaws
THEIR OWN IMAGE
Girls (boys too) can be plenty awkward with themselves, especially
as they're learning to live in their own skins. How do you
grow comfortable with yourself when what you are doesn't conform
to the images the culture hurls at you? That question lives
at the heart of the essays in Adios, Barbie: Young Women Write
About Body Image and Identity (Seal Press, $ 14.95). Ophira
Edut, the collection's editor, throws down the gauntlet early
on: "You're busted, Babs. You've been found guilty of
inspiring fourth-grade girls to diet, of modeling an impossible
beauty standard, of clinging to homogeneity in a diverse new
world. Welcome to the dollhouse, honey. Your time is up."
So throw out "torpedo-titted" Barbie, writes Susan
Jane Gilman, and replace her with something new. How about
Dinner Roll Barbie, "a Barbie with multiple love handles"?
Or Body Piercings Barbie? "Enables girls to rebel, express
alienation and gross out elders without actually having to
puncture themselves." Barbed jokes indeed.
this is serious stuff. The fat and thin weigh in, the anorexics
sit down with the hearty eaters: These are women of all stripes,
speaking their minds -- and their bodies. Two-hundred-pound
Leoneda Inge-Barry describes what she sees in the mirror,
what it's like to grow up big: "I can't wait until the
day comes when I can walk down the street and not think I'm
being judged by the color of my skin or the size of my dress."
Lisa Jervis writes about "My Jewish Nose" and how
the very thing her mother's generation rubbed out with rhinoplasty
has become for her a source of cultural identity. Mexican
American Marisa Navarro was brought up to be "a good
hijita" -- "more than simply being an obedient daughter.
It also meant being desexualized." Now, she writes, "I'm
ready for anything that happens, whether it's cellulite or