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Body Outlaws by Ophira Edut

Bella Book: Body Outlaws

Full disclosure: My friend Ophira Edut is the editor of this book, but that's not why I like it. Body Outlaws is a collection of essays that challenges the idea that only tall, skinny, blonde and Caucasian women can be beautiful. (Fun fact: The first edition of this book was called Adios, Barbie.) If you've ever hated your body, been too critical of your face, or been made to feel too short, too fat, too hairy, too unattractive... you should pick up this book.

Most of the essays are by young women who reject our culture's often-exclusionary view of beauty. It's a diverse collection of stories that all involve beauty, body image, and the difficulty of accepting yourself in a culture obsessed with physical "perfection." For instance, Lisa Jervis describes how she feels about the size of her nose, especially in contrast with her mom, who's had a nose job. And plus-size model Kate Dillon reveals how her modeling agency talked to her about her "weight problem" (she was 5'11 and weighed 125 pounds at the time).

This book is nine years old, but it doesn't feel dated. In a way, I wish it did—if it meant that women finally felt beautiful as they are. But until we get there, consider this a booster shot for your self-esteem and body image. Have any of you read the book? If so, what did you think of it?

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