Throughout the Western world, people have come to believe that general dissatisfaction can be relieved by some change in their bodies. Here Susie Orbach explains the origins of this condition, and examines its implications for all of us. Challenging the Freudian view that bodily disorders originate and progress in the mind, Orbach argues that we should look at self-mutilation, obesity, anorexia, and plastic surgery on their own terms, through a reading of the body itself. Incorporating the latest research from neuropsychology, as well as case studies from her own practice, she traces many of these fixations back to the relationship between mothers and babies, to anxieties that are transferred unconsciously, at a very deep level, between the two. Orbach reveals how vulnerable our bodies are, how susceptible to every kind of negative stimulus—from a nursing infant sensing a mother's discomfort to a grown man or woman feeling inadequate because of a model on a billboard. That vulnerability makes the stakes right now tremendously high.In the past several decades, a globalized media has overwhelmed us with images of an idealized, westernized body, and conditioned us to see any exception to that ideal as a problem. The body has become an object, a site of production and commerce in and of itself. Instead of our bodies making things, we now make our bodies. Susie Orbach reveals the true dimensions of the crisis, and points the way toward healing and acceptance.
Susie Orbach is the co-founder of the Women's Therapy Centre in London and New York. A former Guardian (UK) columnist, she was visiting professor for ten years at the London School of Economics. She is a consultant and co-originator of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. The author of a number of books, including On Eating, The Impossibility of Sex, and the bestseller Fat is a Feminist Issue, she lectures extensively worldwide.
Every day, my inbox, like most people’s, fills with invitations to enlarge the size of my penis or my breasts, to purchase the pleasure and potency booster Viagra and to try the latest herbal or pharmaceutical preparation to lose weight. The exhortations have fooled the spam filter and the popular science pages, which too sing of implants and pills to augment body or brain and new methods of reproduction which bypass conventional biology.
Susie Orbach conducts interviews with doctors, foster parents, individuals with body distress, etc. in her quest to discover what creates one's sense of body.
Susie Orbach's new book, Bodies, explores the role of the dieting and cosmetics industries in our visual culture and the world of marketing. The question is, can we fight back?
Susie Orbach comments on body image and the iconic Barbie doll.