The Good Body – Eve Ensler

March 4, 2010 § 6 Comments

The crazy thing is he’s always thought I was beautiful, but of course that doesn’t count, I mean, he loves me.

I read that line and couldn’t help but wonder, how many of us feel the same way? We wish and wish that our partners or significant others or even close friends and distant relatives would look at us and see that we are beautiful, but when they do, it takes monstrous effort to believe them.

In The Good Body. Eve Ensler tells it like it is. She takes us on a journey, her journey, to get rid of that tummy of hers which she feels is the size of something huge. She meets with women who have something to complain about some part of their bodies. She tells us their stories. Why do we all feel inadequate? Why do we feel like there’s something we must change? Why are Asian women obsessed with skin-lightening cream? Why are television programmes interrupted with commercials for different diet pills and get-skinny-quick schemes?

Despite being a book of no more than 100 pages, I felt that it delivered a punch and a kick. The monologues of the different women were told in distinctly different flavours, and yet all of them managed to tell their own story. You couldn’t help but laugh at some parts of their stories, but in the end, they told of their insecurities, their pain and anger.

Bread is Satan. I stop eating bread. This is the same as not eating food. Four days in, a scrawny actress friend tells me, “Eve, your stomach has nothing to do with diet.” What? “It’s the change of life,” she says. “All you need is some testosterone.” I try to imagine what I would be like, totally bread deprived and shot up with testosterone. “Serial killer” comes to mind.

They were, or are, frustrated with the world for forcing them to become something they could never be; frustrated with the impossible standards that society seems to be pushing down their throats; with their mothers and fathers and siblings for wanting them to be someone else; and frustrated with themselves for not having the body of their dreams. Is there really such a thing as a perfect body?

I’ve not read Ensler’s more famous book/play, The Vagina Monologues, and now after this, I think I want to.

Rating: 4

For: Women Unbound Challenge


Note: This is a play, a drama. Half the stories are made up, I think. But the issues are real. The frustrations and feelings are real. The impossible expectations are real.


§ 6 Responses to The Good Body – Eve Ensler

  • chasing bawa says:

    I like the way you put the book next to a yummy looking bar of chocolate. I think body image is something that we all (especially women) struggle with. I am always frustrated about having to think about my weight or shape when there are so many more important things to think about. But I still do. I haven’t read any Ensler (although I’ve heard a lot about her) and am intrigued now.

    • Michelle says:

      Chocolates are one of those things that I would much rather not ever live without. And I think you’re right about how we struggle with body image these days, especially with all those models and magazines and actors out there. I think all of us default into thinking about our bodies and our image more than we would want to.

  • Aarti says:

    I haven’t read anything by this author, but I like the quotes you provided (thank you!) so… I’ll keep her in mind. I know what you mean about people calling you beautiful, too 🙂

    • Michelle says:

      I didn’t know what to expect from her, and this being my first play/drama, I was a little tentative. I think it did me well to start with a relatively smaller book of hers, before going into The Vagina Monologues.

  • Michel says:

    Book and author unknown to me. But they played The Vagina Monologues around in the country (Belgium) with a real success. Anyhow I didn’t see it. WIth you have written I would be tempted to read it.
    But I do know this chocolate: a good choice ! They have different grades : 70%, 80%, 90% (not sold in Belgium) and … 99%. Do you know this last ? If not and you have the opportunity, I recommand you taste it. It is almost no chocolate any more. But when you taste it, you would become addicted. Unfortunately it is more than twice more expensive than the others 😦

    • Michelle says:

      Thanks for dropping by. And thanks for the suggestion about the chocolate! I’ve not come across the 99% one, though it sounds absolutely divine. (I’m just in love with dark dark chocolate that way.)

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