No, I’m not going to go through my entire history from puberty and beyond. But as a female in America, I have experienced pressure to have a perfect body and discomfort with myself when I did go through puberty. I was an early bloomer, everything puberty related I got in late elementary school so obviously, I was different from the other girls around me. I was never bullied or harassed (and I thank God for that) just uncomfortable. Fast-forward to now, I’m a young adult who has finally come to terms with the many expectations set upon me. My teen years were still rather awkward since I was trying to be the ideal teenager; you know, perfect hair, skinny but curves in the right places, flawless skin, and the like. Now, I’m comfortable with how I look. I’m not perfect, as if anybody is. I’m not skinny (I’m rather average with curves, buying jeans can be a hassle), I love my natural hair (it’s so curly and pretty!), and thanks to certain facial cleansers, my forehead is a long way away from its acne-filled, sandpaper-y qualities from elementary school. But there are still things I want to change about myself. I have enough self-esteem that I don’t obsess over my looks, but I do still care. And I can be super cliche and say that you’re all perfectly imperfect too (guys and girls) and that you have to be completely comfortable with what you look like. But that’s for you to come to terms with, not for me to thrust upon you.
That being said, I enjoyed this book. Brumberg goes through history to see how girls and women in general dealt with puberty and their appearances by making their body a “project” of sorts. She described the differences between the 18th century to the 20th century. I found it very surprising that in the Victorian age, mothers didn’t even talk to their daughters about getting their first period for fear that their purity would be compromised. And the explanations that male doctors and psychologists at that time gave Although the book was published in 1997, many things I in this book are relevant to now in 2013. You’ll laugh, be disgusted, maybe even outraged at some of the ways that women were viewed and still are viewed. It was a very enjoyable read and I’m sure you’ll enjoy, even if you’re a guy.