Friday, April 3, 2009

Susan Bordo

Dr. Susan Bordo (her faculty page) came to speak on campus today. It was standing room only in the University galleries. She's amazing.

Though she was here to talk about eating disorders and their relationship to media representation, it is one of her other books that I most recommend. The book I'm talking about is, of course, The Male Body :

(for the first four pages of the book via Amazon, click here)

Unfortunately, I only read her work for the first time a few years ago, while already in my PhD program. I've blogged about her work before, but I wanted to put the book up here, again, to emphasize just how powerful it was for me.

The book had huge impact on me because, up until that point, I didn't have a way of describing the disconnect I, personally, was feeling as a gay man between what the media told me gay men looked like and what I saw in the mirror every day. So many theorists on body image work on the way that contemporary media images manipulate women (and I am in no way suggesting that should not be the case--that is an incredibly important way for theory to intervene in culture). So for me to finally find someone talking about what I was feeling and seeing was huge. I wish it had come much earlier.


Christopher said...

You really piqued my interest here. The book sounds fascinating. I do wish you had gone on about the book and your reaction to it. I would very much have liked to know what you learned about this disconnect or discrepancy you felt and how you went on to resolve it.

J. Campbell said...

I don't know that I have resolved it.