About Body Shots

The Backstory: Why I wrote BODY SHOTS

The genesis of this book lies at the intersection of three paths I have traveled in my personal and professional life: the first as a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders and body image disturbance, the second as a university professor of cultural studies and psychology, and the third as a passionate moviegoer. But it grows even more deeply out of lifetime membership in the diverse community of women who come of age in what I call “the culture of eating disorders”—a world in which food has become more taboo than sex ever was and the bathroom scale more challenging a confrontation than the confessional booth. The age-old sisterhood of trading recipes and exchanging food traditions and tastes has been replaced by a different bond: What women in a weight-obsessed culture share most of all is a fear of food and its dreaded outcome—fat.

In BODY SHOTS I show how the “body narratives” of Hollywood celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Oprah Winfrey about their battles with bulimia, post-maternal weight gain, and yo-yo dieting create a “new normal” which glamorizes the chronic body dissatisfaction and weight obsession that put so many media watchers at risk for eating disorders. My hope for this book is that all moviegoers—men and women, boys and girls—will have fun “reading between the lines” to decode the powerful messages films and moviestars convey about beauty, sexual desire, fame and fortune with their seductive and compelling “body shots.”