A book I may need to look for

The biggest biological difference between men and women? Most women can bear children. Men can’t.

From discussion of a book called The Frailty Myth, which sounds like it may be doing for our perceptions of women and strength what The Beauty Myth did for our perceptions of women and beauty.

Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth (and Susan Faludi’s Backlash, which came out around the same time) were important books for me, actually. Read both of them in my early 20s, an age at which I now know women are particularly vulnerable about issues around appearance and weight. (From the teens through to the mid-20s, really.) And I realized that there was no reason for me to not like my appearance; there was no reason I had to judge what that appearance should be by images on TV and in magazines (this is a sneaky thing–we do it unconsciously, not consciously, much of the time); that beauty had nothing to do with weight; that if I looked around in the real world, beautiful women came in a huge range of sizes and shapes; and that there was no reason not to love my body exactly as it is.

These don’t sound like radical thoughts now. But they did take conscious effort at the time, and a couple of books to point out the issues involved. And I’ve heard enough attractive women put themselves down, attach guilt and angst to food choices, and make generally self-depreciating jokes at their own expense, to know these issues have not, yet, gone away.

But I like to think we’re at least making progress.

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