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The Politics of Women's Bodies

Sexuality, Appearance, and Behavior

Fourth Edition

Rose Weitz and Samantha Kwan

Publication Date - 01 November 2013

ISBN: 9780199343799

400 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

A cutting-edge anthology on power and women's bodies


Since 1998, The Politics of Women's Bodies: Sexuality, Appearance, and Behavior has served as the premiere text in the area of women and the body. This revised and updated fourth edition brings together recent (and a few classic) critical writings in this important field. The selections reflect three themes: how ideas about women's bodies in the United States are socially constructed, how these social constructions can be used to control women's lives, and how women attempt to resist these forces. Exceptionally well-written and edited to be accessible and pedagogically friendly, the articles in this collection cover a wide range of topics while paying attention to class, ethnicity, disability, body size, and sexual orientation.

New to this Edition

  • Seven new readings addressing issues of childbirth, disability, HPV vaccination, fat stigma, skin color, veiling, and intimate partner violence among undocumented immigrant women
  • An increased emphasis on marginalized populations and on racial, sexual, cultural, and religious diversity
  • A new appendix with discussion questions for each article
  • A new editor, Samantha Kwan, brings a fresh perspective and new insights to the collection

About the Author(s)

Rose Weitz is Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. She is the author of several books, including The Sociology of Health, Illness, and Health Care: A Critical Approach (2012) and Rapunzel's Daughters: What Women's Hair Tells Us About Women's Lives (2004).

Samantha Kwan is Associate Professor of Sociology and a Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies faculty affiliate at the University of Houston. She is coauthor of Framing Fat: Competing Constructions in Contemporary Culture (2013) and coeditor of Embodied Resistance: Challenging the Norms, Breaking the Rules (2011).

Previous Publication Date(s)

October 2009
December 2002
March 1998


"This book is unique and fills an important gap. One of the strengths is the equal weight given to empowerment and agency alongside inequality and control. This makes for great class discussions on why women treat their bodies the way they do. It also offers such cutting-edge and compelling case studies and topics! It is an excellent resource and discussion of the body and contemporary politics, and is both theoretical and empirical, interdisciplinary and cutting edge, and readable and engaging."--Winifred Poster, Washington University

"I LOVE this book. I would be miserable teaching my 'gender, sexuality, and the body' course without it."--Laura Carpenter, Vanderbilt University

Table of Contents

    *=New to this edition


    Part I. The Social Construction of Women's Bodies

    1. A History of Women's Bodies, Rose Weitz
    2. Believing is Seeing: Biology as Ideology, Judith Lorber
    3. Becoming a Gendered Body: Practices of Preschools, Karin A. Martin
    *4. Medicalization, Natural Childbirth and Birthing Experiences, Sarah Jane Brubaker and Heather E. Dillaway
    5. Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power, Sandra Lee Bartky
    *6. Integrating Disability, Transforming Feminist Theory, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson

    Part II. The Politics of Sexuality

    7. Breasted Experience: The Look and the Feeling, Iris Marion Young
    8. Daring to Desire: Culture and the Bodies of Adolescent Girls, Deborah L. Tolman
    *9. A Tale of Two Technologies: HPV Vaccination, Male Circumcision, and Sexual Health, Laura M. Carpenter and Monica J. Casper
    10. "Get Your Freak On": Sex, Babies, and Images of Black Femininity, Patricia Hill Collins
    11. Brain, Brow, and Booty: Latina Iconicity in U.S. Popular Culture, Isabel Molina Guzmán and Angharad N. Valdivia
    12. "So Full of Myself as a Chick": Goth Women, Sexual Independence, and Gender Egalitarianism, Amy C. Wilkins

    Part III. The Politics of Appearance

    13. Designing Women: Cultural Hegemony and the Exercise of Power Among Women who Have Undergone Elective Mammoplasty, Patricia Gagné and Deanna McGaughey
    14. Women and Their Hair: Seeking Power Through Resistance and Accommodation, Rose Weitz
    *15. Navigating Public Spaces: Gender, Race, and Body Privilege in Everyday Life, Samantha Kwan
    *16. The Moral Underpinnings of Beauty: A Meaning-Based Explanation for Light and Dark Complexions in Advertising, Shyon Baumann
    17. Reclaiming the Female Body: Women Body Modifiers and Feminist Debates, Victoria Pitts

    Part IV. The Politics of Behavior

    18. From the "Muscle Moll" to the "Butch" Ballplayer: Mannishness, Lesbianism, and Homophobia in U.S. Women's Sports, Susan K. Cahn
    19. Branded with Infamy: Inscriptions of Poverty and Class in the United States, Vivyan Adair
    20. Backlash and Continuity: The Political Trajectory of Fetal Rights, Rachel Roth
    *21. Hijab and American Muslim Women: Creating the Space for Autonomous Selves, Rhys H. Williams and Gira Vashi
    22. Compulsive Heterosexuality: Masculinity and Dominance, C.J. Pascoe
    *23. Being Undocumented and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): Multiple Vulnerabilities Through the Lens of Feminist Intersectionality, Margaret E. Adams and Jacquelyn Campbell

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