A wonderful fusion of modern psychoanalytic perspectives, feminist analysis, neuropsychology, case studies, original thinking, and poignant writing, _Bodies_ traces how the interplay between body vulnerability and societal ideals has resulted in today's crisis levels of body dissatisfaction.
Orbach proposes the original idea of a critical period for "body acquisition" (similar to that of language acquisition) during which time a young child develops a sense of being in his or her body. The ability to achieve a sense that one's body is stable and reliable ultimately depends on the quality of attachment to the caregiver, as well as the caregiver's ability to be comfortable with their own body (as "every body is made with the intimate imprint of the familial body story"). Children who do not successfully gain a sense of body stability become the teenagers and adults who are most vulnerable to succumbing to the messages of the globalized media and perpetually manipulating their body into the idealized westernized body.
Orbach explains how as a result of this never-ending battle, "the body has become a casing for fantasy rather than a place from which to live." The solution for this dis-embodiment, she suggests, lies in "engaging with the difficulties that our bodies present to us at a psychological, personal, and social level." By learning how to embody our bodies, we will be able to fully live in them--instead of in the hopes that they could be something more.
Although _Bodies_ may be a small book, its content is profound and largely pertains to any and every body.