What a cool name for a book! Apparently I'm a little late to the party, because this book, The World Has Curves: The Global Quest for the Perfect Body, has been out for about 2 years. I came across it the other day for the first time. It is written by Julia Savacool, who interviewed nearly 100 women in eight different countries to examine what beauty around the world looks like. This sounds a lot like Jessica Simpson's VH1 show, The Price of Beauty, that was on awhile back (I wrote about it here). Anyways, while I haven't read this book yet, I am looking forward to checking it out! Stay tuned for a summer reading list I may post on here soon.
As I've said, while I haven't read this book (yet), I have read a few reviews, as well as an interview that Savacool gave. Below are some snippets that I think are worth sharing!
South Africa: "When you lose a lot of weight there, people immediately start asking if you're sick," Savacool said. The spread of AIDS has caused thinness to be associated with illness. An interesting consequence is that Levi's [denim] have begun selling a special cut of jeans to flatter curvier South Africans; the style is not yet available in the United States (lemondrop.com).
Jamaica: Curves are most definitely embraced, but naturally thin women are occasionally driven to consume high-fat 'chicken pills' in an effort to gain weight. For young women in Jamaica, it's socially essential to have curves as the most popular dance style relies heavily on shaking what you got (lemondrop.com).
It seems that this book might suggest that female body ideals reflect the social and economic climate of the particular culture in question. This is relevant in light of our own societal body and beauty ideals and how we interact with them. It also provides a context for the way in which we view beauty! This is always a good reminder and something to think about, especially when the weather begins to warm up and it's time to bust out the bathing suit!! For more on the book, follow this link.