Body image & “The Triple Bind”

I have a new essay about going braless up at the body image website Adios Barbie. I confess: it is  slightly anxiety-inducing to talk about your body on the Internet. I’m taking deep breaths right now. Still, I wrote the essay because I think Susan Bordo’s work in Unbearable Weight is important and deserves to be grounded in lived experience and shared with others.

Also on my radar this week is psychologist Stephen Hinshaw’s The Triple Bind: Saving Our Teenage Girls from Today’s Pressures. Hinshaw argues that young women today are trapped in a set of competing pressures that are impossible to negotiate. Compellingly, he describes those binds: “Today’s girl know she’s supposed to fulfill all the ‘traditional’ girl expectations–look pretty, be nice, get a boyfriend–while excelling at the “girl skills” of empathy, cooperation, and relationship building” but  a “successful girl must also master [traditional] boy skills of assertion”  by getting straight-As, excelling in sports, and aiming for a top-flight career, all the while being “effortlessly” sexy and thin. Here’s a FORA talk he gave surrounding the book’s publication.

For anyone interested in these issues, I highly recommend The Triple Bind. I have to give more thought to Hinshaw’s work and what potential strategies young women can use to escape all these pressures. I suspect yoga may offer some alternatives ways of thinking about womanhood, body image, and competition, but I’m still thinking.

Namaste,
Hope

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