Body Image Issues? 4 Classic books that Help.

Worried about the effects of a poor body image on yourself, a friend or family member? Want to better understand the link between diet culture, body image and eating disorders? These classic titles offer us insight and practical advice.  

Body Wars: An Activist's Guide Author - Dr. Margo Maine
The Body Image Workbook Author - Thomas F Cash, PhD
Body Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in Youth: Assessment, Prevention and Treatment Author - Linda Smolak
Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women and Children Author - Professor Sarah Grogan

Review by Jeryl Scurr

Body Wars: An Activist’s Guide

The most important relationship in a woman’s life is the relationship she has with herself”. – Margo Maine

A clinical psychologist, body activist and respected academic, Dr. Margo Maine writes passionately that culture has declared war on women’s bodies. In Body Wars she examines the result: diet culture, weight stigma, and prejudice in all areas of society. Maine’s ideas and strategies for fighting back have stood the test of time, and are just as crucial today. I also highly recommend her books The Body Myth, and Pursuing Perfection, both co-authored with Joe Kelly.  


The Body Image Workbook: an Eight-Step Program for Learning to Like your Looks

Thomas F. Cash, PhD is the author of “The Body Image Workbook: an Eight- Step Program for Learning to Like your Looks” as well as co-editor with Linda Smolak, PhD, of the 2012 edition of Body Image: A Handbook of Science, Practice and Prevention. 

The Body Image Workbook uses a cognitive-behavioural approach which has proven success for those working on negative body issues, whilst The Body Image Handbook focuses on the background to, research into and various clinical practices to avoid poor body image and eating disorders.


Body Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in Youth: Assessment, Prevention and Treatment

Professor Smolak and Professor Kevin Thompson, PhD, authors and co-editors have authored many articles and books on body image and eating disorders. Their analysis of the cultural, social, and familial factors leading to poor body image and eating disorders in ethnic communities is critical to prevention and treatment. The extent of the information you will find here shows just why this is still required reading.


Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women and Children

In Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women and Children, Professor Sarah Grogan examines the “sociocultural influences on body image” with an overview of body image research “from the fields of psychology, sociology, media, and gender studies in men, women, and children.” Professor Grogan was one of the first to focus on men and children as well as women. The book looks closely at the links between body image and physical activity which is one of the author’s research interests.

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