Bitchin' Bodies: young women talk about body dissatisfaction

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9780980230017: Bitchin' Bodies: young women talk about body dissatisfaction
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Bitchin' Bodies began as a series of individual and small group interviews with young college women in the United States. Over a seven-year research period, Terri used these conversations to create a compelling analysis of body shape discourse and the way it is experienced, shared, and reframed by young women in conversation. While most of us are aware of eating disorders, Terri's approach encompasses the everyday experiences of being dissatisfied with personal appearance, and the impact of these preoccupations on our interactions, goals, and participation in society. Divided into sections exploring personal, interpersonal, and cultural dimensions of body dissatisfaction, this book serves at once as a comfort for personal reading, a resource for young women and those working with them on these issues, and a compelling introduction to topics in feminism and communication studies. Karin Lekan's images complicate this text by creating a surreal world in which strangely empowered women move with a sense of reflection in relation to their bodies, which sometimes literally come apart in pieces. Her images appear throughout the book, creating an uncanny interpretation of the world Terri describes.

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About the Author:

Terri L. Russ is intimately familiar with the phenomenon of body dissatisfaction from years of personal experience and professional study. Terri earned a PhD at Purdue University in communication studies, as well as a JD from DePaul University. A former practicing attorney, she has worked with a number of community organizations involving issues pertaining to girls and women. She is an Assistant Professor in the department of Communication Studies, Dance, and Theatre at Saint Mary s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, where she continues to explore expectations for female beauty in her teaching and scholarship. -- Karin E. Lekan is the visual artist responsible for the strangely empowered young women who appear throughout Bitchin Bodies. She grew up outside of Chicago and received her BFA in illustration from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2002. Karin's images have appeared in several issues of Venus magazine, and she has exhibited with the Chicago Art Brigade, Sweet N' Slow at the Elbo Room, and Monkey Business in Chicago, at the Yacko Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri, and at the Moreau Art Galleries at Saint Mary s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. Karin created her first animation We got a brand new ocean. We got a friend inside. as part of the exhibit Moving through medium at the Moreau Art Galleries. She lives and works in San Francisco, California.

Review:

"Terri Russ masterfully depicts the depths of women s body dissatisfaction as a post-modern plague in Bitchin Bodies. Few can dispute the veracity of this plague after reading the multitude of disturbing body dissatisfaction discourse examples young women shared with her. However, Russ's greatest contribution is providing women with the language and tools to use as an antidote to battle the body dissatisfaction plague rather than each other. By recognizing how much we contribute daily to our own body dissatisfaction plight, Russ has empowered us to once again concentrate on internal rather than external substance." ----Dr. Jennifer Kramer, Assistant Professor of Communication, The College of St. Benedict/St. John's University

"When I first glanced at Bitchin' Bodies: young women talk about body dissatisfaction, I must admit that the first thought than ran through my head was, 'Great! A book about women's bodies as rhetoric! I've been a fan of the female torso since I was about 13.' However, upon a more serious read of the work -- which was hard to put down -- I found myself feeling guilty for all of my stereotypical preconceptions and misconceptions of what beauty, per se, is. I, myself, weigh about 275 pounds from two decades of Mountain Dew abuse and a nasty computer programming and word-processing addiction. So, who am I to hold to these stereotypes? Yet, still, the tilted gaze inherent in my ideals of what a pretty woman is, clearly, warrants sober checking at the door. Russ and StepSister Press are about to do the communication discipline writ large and women in general a world of honest good. Russ slyly dispels many of the myths of beauty by demonstrating the insidious havoc caused upon the female human pysche due to our prevailing beauty culture, and how it insidiously seeps into the female psyche -- sometimes not only at the detriment of one's mental health, but also at their physiological health, as well. Bravo to Terri Russ for bringing a quality feminist critique to market .... " ----Tyrone L. Adams, PhD, author of Electronic Tribes: The Virtual Worlds of Geeks, Gamers, Shamans, and Scammers

"Bitchin' Bodies is simply the best book I have read about the cultural power of everyday talk, mediated images, the cult of celebrity, and even taken-for-granted advisories disguised as helpful messages and advice to create unrealistic expectations for beauty in women of all ages, literally from the cradle to the grave. Unlike other notable feminist perspectives on this subject, Dr. Russ doesn't stop at the corner of Power and Hegemony to simply rail against what's wrong, but instead offers sound communicative prescriptions for how all of us -- women and men -- may learn how to talk, write, argue, and discuss our way forward, understanding that while some aspects of this pervasive cultural surround will no doubt continue to seek influence over us, it need not dominate women's lives, women's bodies, and/or a woman's sense of self worth. Written in an accessible style and chock full of powerful examples drawn from the research and popular literature, I recommend this book to anyone interested in women's health and wellness, but especially to parents of teenage girls, classroom teachers, and college students." ----H.L. (Bud) Goodall, Jr., PhD, author of A Need to Know: The Clandestine History of a CIA Family

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