HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Book Review: Bodies: Big Ideas/Small Books

Susan G, writing at DailyKos, provides a great review of Bodies:  Big Ideas/Small Books by Susie Orbach.  Susan writes,

For psychoanalyst Susie Orbach, the human body in the 21st century has become--. . . . --a burden. "Our bodies," she writes, "no longer make things." They "are and have become a form of work. The body is turning from being the means of production to the production itself."

The new idea that our bodies are and should be an individual creation rather than the simple outcome of biology means that the body takes up enormous amounts of energy and becomes a source of considerable difficulty for many, many people today.

Worse, she claims, "Our body is judged as our individual production." This assignment of body as our "production" means we are responsible for it, in all its manifest messiness and inescapable breakdown. No matter how healthy our diets, how rigorous our workout routines, how dedicated our appearance regimens, we're going to age, wither, wrinkle and ultimately, decay. Failure of our physical body is, obviously, inevitable; previous generations often wore theirs out with hard brutal use. Today, we witness our own often more genteel declines and despair. . . .

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