Fat vs. feminism.

Arts, entertainment, and more.
Jan. 5 2005 8:35 AM

Navel Gazing

Why even feminists are obsessed with fat.

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Of course, masculinity has always been afflicted with its own bodily anxieties; it just compensates for them differently (or overcompensates). Check out Viagra sales if in doubt. Or those penis-extender spam ads. Only feminism-for-dummies defines body pathologies as a female franchise alone, especially since that just buttresses the illusion of masculine invulnerability all over again—traditional femininity via the back door.

Will femininity continue to beat down the feminist challenge? It's been remarkably tenacious to date. Or will women keep trying to reconcile the two through conflicted enterprises such as empowerment plastic surgery and bestowing men with feminist prowess? If only internal gymnastics burned calories! Then we could all achieve flatter stomachs with far fewer hours at the gym.

Laura Kipnis' new book, How To Become a Scandal, will be out in paperback in September. Her previous books include Against Love: A Polemic, and The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability.