Given the title “Bodies”, it was difficult to predict what the content of this short book would be. I suspected that it might be something along the lines of our bodies being regarded as commodities, and the harmful effects that media has on our collective self-image and self-esteem. Bodies did cover this ground, but it delved much deeper into all sorts of psychological issues. No small task for this slim paperback!
Orbach is a psychoanalyst, and as such, has a unique and considered voice in the dialogue about bodies. She holds neither men nor women responsible for our current state of widespread bodily anxiety; there is no hint of judgment, whatsoever. Moreover, she manages to raise considerable and warranted alarm, without sounding shrill.
Bodies advances two arguments: that there is no “natural” body, and that bodies are made, and not born.
At times astonishing, at times tragic, this unflinching book is for all those who have ever struggled with body issues, anxieties or distresses, and yet suspect that there is a more complex, deeply rooted problem at work, than digitally re-touched advertisements or the big, bad diet industry.
I sincerely recommend it for all those who have a body!