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Fat is a Feminist Issue [Paperback]

Susie Orbach
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 May 1998
A guidebook on changing the way women look at themselves and food. This teaches how to eat out of stomach hunger rather than mouth hunger and thus stop compulsive eating and do away with diets.

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd; 3rd Revised edition edition (7 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099271540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099271543
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 527,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Virtually all feminist debate on body image and beauty imagery owes its existence to Susie Orbach's enduring formulation" (Naomi Wolf, bestselling author of The Beauty Myth)

"Susie Orbach's pioneering work isn't just the first to expose the links between sexual politics and female dieting; it remains the classic work on the subject ... it is more essential than ever that Fat is a Feminist Issue be read by every woman" (Susan Faludi, bestselling author of Backlash)

"[Orbach's] pungent psychoanalytic insights and plain good sense ensure that this is still the sharpest, and best bible for the food junkie" (The Independent) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Updated and with a new introduction. The complete volumes of the bestselling classic that revolutionised women's relationship with food. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended 23 Mar 2005
By A Customer
I would highly rec'd this book to both those in the helping professions working with people with eating disorders and also those suffering with one. I have found it invaluable as a Psychotherapist but more importantly in my recovery from bulimia. I reread it almost every year.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book now 2 April 2009
I simply can not speak highly enough of this book and the effect it has had on me. I feel as though I have had years of therapy, and the effects are not limited to my attitude to food, but are seeping into other areas of my life too. I honestly believe that I will never over-eat again in my life and I feel completely free of all anxiety surrounding food.

I knew that dieting had never worked for me, and I knew that my emotions were somehow bound up in my eating habits, but I didn't have the tools to unlock them. Orbach very concisely lists the main reasons we form anxiety about our bodies, obsessively diet, and compulsively eat and helps you to work through these complex neuroses and come to terms with your body and learn to see food as a friend again. I have cleared my cupboards of low-fat diet products and filled them with abundant gorgeous food. Yet I'm the slimmest I've been in years!

Ladies, buy this book now, fall back in love with food (and your body) and you'll never have to say The diet starts Monday" ever again!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read for sure 28 Jan 2012
By Jodi-Hummingbird TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This is a book I have heard mentioned every now and then for many years and I have always wanted to know what the book was about. So when I saw a cheap used copy I couldn't resist buying it to find out.

I'm somewhat overweight and have many serious health problems, which contribute to my weight issues in a number of ways. I didn't expect to relate so much to the different reasons that I could be choosing to stay overweight, but after reading this book I now have no doubt that at least part of my inability to maintain a healthier weight is not physical.

I'm a feminist, of course. (I don't understand at all any woman who wouldn't want to be identified as a feminist, someone who supports equal rights for men and women, and who find the term cringe-worthy. It is only a terrible term if you believe all the anti-feminist and status quo supporting media and propaganda and so on, surely?) But I was surprised in reading this book how much of it really hit home with me, but how little any of it had to do with my gender or with feminism!

Not all the possible reasons for staying overweight had to do with feminism, as the title of this book may suggest. In fact, the vast majority of them did not. Some of the parts which did have to do with gender, such as mother-daughter competitiveness issues, I didn't relate to at all, possibly because they the book is very dated. (My mother has always worked and so doesn't envy my ability to work, for example.)

Some of the book is very dated, but it is easy enough to skip over those parts and to spend time contemplating the more timeless concepts. I'd very much recommend this book for men dealing with high or low weight issues, as well as women. It is a classic and you're sure to gain some real insight into your unconscious thoughts and actions by reading it.

This book provides lots of food for thought!

Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for all women 14 Sep 2004
By A Customer
I first read this book about two years ago whilst pregnant with my first baby and it absolutely blew me away with its honesty and clarity. I have struggled with eating, body image and food since early adolesence, but since reading this and working hard to apply its principles to my life I am the lightest I have ever been, I am relaxed about food and eating and despite having a post-baby body I think I look marvellous!
I would thoroughly recommend it for any woman who has problems with their eating: I would not have believed the almost magical effect it would have on me.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In depth, practical and thought provoking 14 Jan 2011
I have now read a multitude of different books on overeating and for me this has been the best one...if you buy any book, buy this one!
1. It goes into the general cultural context- why women have a problem with fat, what those problems might be, etc...she's done her research
2. She provides the basics for a new approach which is similar to the one advocated by Geneen Roth, the beyond chocolate method,etc but consolidates their ideas into this one comprehensive book
3. She provides practical excercises on how to start facing your body issues with mirror excercises/writing excercises, etc.

All in all the most practical, satisfying book i've read on the subject and the one that's helped me most to gain a new perspective of my eating.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Still totally relevant. 28 April 2009
It's a classic feminist text and well worth reading. It was my first time of reading and some of the ideas have entered into common knowledge, but that doesn't mean it isn't still shocking and hugely relevant. Excellent read.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original "anti-diet" book 3 Mar 2001
By A Customer
The insights offered in this book still relate very pertinently to today. The exercises give some devastating insights into how you perceive food, and how that relates to your self-image. This book stands head and shoulders above some of the later books in terms of its simplicity. It is needed now more than ever with the "liberation" of women, which has led more and more to a distorted media image of women's bodies.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'Must Read' 20 July 2009
By MissO
I wish I had come across this book 15 years ago! It would have spared me lots of pain and wasted time!

At some point in my life, I lost 50Kgs over less than a year, and was able to maintain this weight for about 1+ yr. However, while I had the dieting under control, I had not resolved the emotional triggers that push me to reach out for food.. and also I was not prepared for the emotional 'consequences' that my new weight will bring. I could not handle the 'new me'/life and gave in to the comfort and security of food and put back 25 kgs in a short period of time.

Weight loss is presented in our society as the solution to all bodies issues. Little attention is given to the social and psychological motives behind overeating and binging, but here lie the keys to a long-term resolution of bodies issues (be it with weight loss or acceptance of how one is). 'Fat is a Feminist Issue' enlighted me with key concepts and provided 'support' to understand myself better, stop blaming myself and finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Suzie Orbach gives very insightful remarks on female psychology and practical help to resolve body issues. Several times, I felt 'how does she know that?' as I always thought I was the only one in this very well-guarded behavior.. It felt so good to be understood, and no longer feel alone dealing with eating disorder problems.

Her advice and practical exercises made me realize unconscious roots of behaviorial problems, and gave me the foundations to resolve them.

The only minor criticisms I have is that some feminist references made in this book are no longer valid in this day and age, or at least not to this extent. This book was written in 1978, so it is understandable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars no more fat police
I read this book in my late teens/ early 20's and it more or less stopped my anorexic/bulimic self loathing. We must say no to the fat police!
Published 3 months ago by suzanne
3.0 out of 5 stars Physcology based
Quite wordy heavy to swallow, not sure it has been powerful enough to convince me not to diet and to learn to love me for wjho i am and what i look like, society demands so much... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Eugenia Oram
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Not for me sadly, a lot of words that didn't really mean very much. I was so l was so looking forward to reading the book after the excellent reviews but just not for me.
Published 5 months ago by Bj098451
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit off the wall
I found some useful bits of information to help overcome my eating disorder but felt that the feminism issue was a little off the wall for me. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jellybean
5.0 out of 5 stars This book should be read by all women I think.
This book has totally changed the way that I view food. It has made me realise that it is my emotions that has made me fat. Read more
Published 20 months ago by julie wright
4.0 out of 5 stars Fat is a feminist issue
Book was delivered on time and in perfect condition, bought for my wife (by her request) but she has found it to be a little disappointing as a book. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Mr. P. A. Burton
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A very pertinent book, still, today. All ages, and both men and women would benefit from facing their fears and discovering ways to over come them.
Published on 5 Sep 2011 by Magda
5.0 out of 5 stars fat is feminist issue
This book is easy to read yet , as a text book it will take you some time to get through it all. It really sets your mind tothink about the relationship of food , fat , women ,... Read more
Published on 19 July 2011 by M. J. Hayden
5.0 out of 5 stars Nofine
Well worth a read - the other perspective on weight loss. This sits well with me and makes perfect sense.
Published on 19 May 2011 by books2
3.0 out of 5 stars No longer that relevant or groundbreaking
I'm sure that 32 years ago this book was groundbreaking, but now it has little to say to modern women. Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2011 by Psychologist
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