The Ministry of Thin: How the Pursuit of Perfection Got Out of Control

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9781619023291: The Ministry of Thin: How the Pursuit of Perfection Got Out of Control

We’re obsessed with weight, we dislike our bodies, we worry about the food we eat, we feel guilty, we diet. Too many of us are locked into a war with our own bodies which we’ll never win, and which will never make us happy. The Ministry of Thin takes a controversial, unflinching look at how the modern, international obsession with weight loss, youth, beauty, and perfection has spun out of control. Emma Woolf, author of An Apple a Day, explores how we might all be able to stop hating and start liking our own bodies again. She rallies against the industries of food, health, exercise, beauty, sex, and surgery that seek to create a world that verges on the Orwellian with the victims of this onslaught trapped and dominated by the societal pressures to conform.

And she dares to ask: if losing weight is the answer, what is the question?

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About the Author:

Emma Woolf is the great-niece of Virginia Woolf. After studying English at Oxford University she worked in publishing, before becoming a full-time writer. She is a columnist for The Times and The Daily Beast and also writes for The Independent, The Mail on Sunday, Harper’s Bazaar, Red, Grazia, and Psychologies. She was a co-presenter on BBC Channel 4’s Supersize vs Superskinny; other media appearances include Newsnight, Woman’s Hour, and Radio 4’s Four Thought. Emma’s first book, An Apple a Day: A Memoir of Love and Recovery from Anorexia was shortlisted for the Best Award for Recovery Inspiration. She was also nominated for Mind’s Journalist of the Year. She lives in London.

From Booklist:

Woolf (An Apple a Day: A Memoir of Love and Recovery from Anorexia, 2013), a British newspaper columnist and the great-niece of Virginia Woolf, continues her chronicle of anorexia, moving from the personal to the societal. Her chapter headings here include “The Ministry of Fashion and Beauty” (“fabric hangs well on frames which are straight up-and-down”), “The Ministry of Detox” (“surely irrigation is for fields, not human beings!”), “The Ministry of Sex” (one survey found that 51-percent of women would give up sex for a year if it meant they could be skinny), and “The Ministry of Surgery” (worldwide, more than 17-million cosmetic surgery procedures take place every year). Much of the information she shares is disheartening. One study reported that one in six women would choose to be blind rather than obese. Yet Woolf uses her distinctively conversational voice and nimble sense of humor to keep her arresting insights into our obsession with thinness as well as modern-day feminism and fertility from getting too downbeat. Candid, revealing, and invaluable. --Karen Springen

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