Adios, Barbie: Young Women Write about Body Image Adn Identity

Ophira Edut, Editor, Rebecca Walker, Foreword by
Ophira Edut, Editor, Rebecca Walker, Foreword by Seal Press (CA) $14.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-58005-016-6
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Edut, founder and publisher of the magazine HUES (Hear Us Emerging Sisters), has assembled a collection of the freshest, hippest writers ever to slam Mattel's Barbie doll and speak up for the beauty of the un-blonde, the un-tall and the un-anorexic. Addressing everything you always wanted to know about body image, from leg hair to transsexuals and African American women's posteriors, the more than 25 contributors present a spectrum of attitudes toward the female body. Although a few of the essays are weak when compared to the book's best pieces, the volume as a whole is a step forward in the discussion of how feminine attractiveness is viewed in American society, concluding that women must seek their own definition of beauty in order to gain a sense of self-acceptance. Essays such as Susan Jane Gilman's ""Klaus Barbie, and Other Dolls I'd Like to See"" and Graciela Rodriguez's ""Breaking the Model"" provide insight into the challenges of young women who grew up feeling as if they had to compete with the pert and impossibly perfect Barbie. Other pieces, such as ""My Jewish Nose"" by Lisa Jervis and ""My Brown Face"" by Mira Jacob, illuminate the obstacles in trying to emulate a Caucasian appearance. Every writer in this splendid collection raises a different issue, yet the essays address the same theme and, cumulatively, make for compelling and important reading. (Dec.)
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