The Dream of Everywhere

Carol Gilligan

  • Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body by Susan Bordo
    California, 361 pp, £19.95, September 1993, ISBN 0 520 07979 5
  • History After Lacan by Teresa Brennan
    Routledge, 239 pp, £35.00, December 1993, ISBN 0 415 01116 7

After reading Unbearable Weight, I began to notice the word ‘slim’. It seemed ubiquitous – on cans in drugstores and supermarkets, in the personal columns of the New York Review of Books. It was a cultural mantra, a synonym for ‘lovable’. In the personal ads, one man described himself as ‘trim’, as in ‘tall, trim, well-built, passionate’; he was also married, vigorous, in his sixties, discreet, and with excellent credentials. But it was in the women’s ads that ‘slim’ became repetitive, dispelling the ever-present suggestion that this woman was too large, too big, too heavy, fat.

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