Books on Body Image, etcetera

Sometimes, we get requests from customers for lists on certain topics. And, sometimes, I think others might like to see our replies (and, who knows, add your own suggestions to ours in our comment section. Or as at least one might, criticize our recommendations.) So, here ya go. This was for a young woman who is a resident hall director at a woman’s dorm at an unnamed Christian college. She asked for stuff on body image, indentity, gender and related topics.
This is “part one.” Hope it’s helpful; sorry it is so long. If you know any woman who work on the floor of a college resident hall, or anybody else who might enjoy this, please forward it on. Thanks.
Beyond Identity: Finding Yourself in the Image and Character of God Dick Keyes (Although this is out of print, we have just a few leftÉimported from England. Dick is on staff of the New England LÕAbri (the community study centers started in the spirit of Francis & Edith Schaeffer) and one of our sharpest evangelical minds today. This book is the best on the topic of identity; not exactly a “self-help” book to enhance oneÕs self-esteem, but rather to think deeply about the notion of identity and how our self-hood can be shaped by the character of God. I could list others along these lines, some perhaps more “practical” but this is the best.
Want to be Her: Body Image Secrets Victoria Won’t Tell You Michelle Graham (IVP) $12.00 I reviewed this at our monthly website a year ago and raved about it there as the best basic book on this topic. Practical, well written; a must-read!
Eve’s Revenge Women and a Spirituality of the Body Lilian Calles Barger (Brazos) $14.99 Without a doubt the most important serious book on this subject. Very insightful. The author has some connections with our friends at the New England LÕAbri, and we esteem her immensely. Thank God for thoughtful and relevant Christian books like this!
God Knows YouÕd Like a New Body: 12 Ways to befriend the one youÕve got Carl Koch & Joyce Heil (Sorin) $11.95 Probably the most practical, easiest to read, resource available. Written by a fairly ecumenical Roman Catholic (which is to say that it doesnÕt seem overtly Catholic at all, and not too much about Christian faith, directly, making it useful even for seekers or non-churched folks; it has interesting quotes from various perspectives and spiritual writers that conservative evangelicals might not like.) The “God knowsÉ” series includes several other very helpful guides to other topics, too, like grief or career satisfaction.
Body Wars: Making Peace With WomenÕs Bodies: An ActivistÕs Guide Margo Maine (gurze) $14.95 Not written from a Christian perspective, this still is helpful for those wanting a guide to thinking through these issues and how to create conversation and programs to effect change in attitudes. Very practical with lots of recommended resources.
The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women Naomi Wolf (Harper) $14.95 I hope you know this one, one of the most talked about womenÕs books in the mainstream book world, written by a prominent secular journalist and feminist writer who actually has great interest in Christian faith…
The Body Project: A Intimate History of American Girls Joan Brumburg (Vintage) $14.00 A fun and interesting read of how the female body has been understood, seen and experienced in American girlhood culture. A sure discussion-starter and useful overview.
Sexy Girls: How Hot is Too Hot? Hayley Demarco (Revell) $14.99 This may be written more for older teens, but it is so brightly-designed, with great (retro) photographs, and solid Christian guidance, this is fun and basic stuff.
The Beauty of Modesty: Cultivating Virtue in the Face of a Vulgar Culture David Vaughan & Diane Vaughan (Cumberland House) $12.95 Packaged in a way that isnÕt terribly inviting (and, for those who fret about such things, is frankly odd—there is a statue of a Greek goddess in marble or something on the cover which surely isnÕt the best model for robust Christian sensibilities, the pagan Greeks! Yikes!) Still, this conservative book on virtue is a winner and we recommend it especially for those who want a solid Bible approach with very traditional gender assumptions.
Return to Modesty Wendy Shalitt (The Free Press) $14.00 Written when she was still a young woman college feminist, and a nonpracticing Jew, she released this brilliant and sophisticated treatment of the “erotic virtue” of modesty to wide-spread acclaim. She has a very thoughtful approach, rooting very traditional values in her experience as new millennial New York single woman. Wonderfully done, very provocative with much to enjoy and consider.
Gender and Grace Mary Stewart Van Leuuwen (IVP) Although not just for women, this is our all-time favorite book on gender concerns, a reasonable and Biblical view of equality and how this effects our approaches to work, family, friendship and marriage. Very nicely done, by a feminist-studies scholar who is a sure-footed and very sharp evangelical. My wife and I are mentioned in her book about menÕs issues, My BrotherÕs Keeper. Hooo-ray!
Origins of Difference: The Gender Debate Revisited Elaine Storkey (Baker) $12.99 Previously issued in England (where she has worked with John Stott and Tear Fund) under the title Gender: Created or Constructed. We love ElaineÕs passionate, solid, thoughtful and engaging research. Very useful. This is out of print and we are pleased to still have some in stock.
Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity Lauren Winner (Brazos) $14.99 I suppose you know all about Lauren, perhaps the hippest Christian writer these days, and a good H&M friend; her other two are absolute must reads (Girl Meets God and Mud-House Sabbath) and they remain very popular, esp among college gals. This one is the best reflection and study of chastity for serious young adults we’ve yet read. Very important, just now available in paperback. Order a bunch!
Every WomanÕs Battle and Every Young WomanÕs Battle Shannon Ethridge & Stephen Arterburn (Waterbrook) $13.99 each. The subtitle reads “Guarding Your Mind, Heart and Body in a Sex-Saturated World”. And serves as a womenÕs version of Every ManÕs Battle (which, as you know, is about lust and pornography and such.) These are really, really useful, with the “young womanÕs” one especially good for younger collegiates, and the other one perhaps aimed at married women. Some women think these are excellent while a few more sophisticated ones may find them a bit less so, but they are doubtlessly the best weÕve got on this exact topic. Cover some areas—fantasy and romance novels, say—that few other books discuss. There are workbook type study guides available, too.
Sex and the Cynics: Talking About the Search for Love Edited by Tony Watkins (Paternoster) $9.99 We import this small book from England not only because it plays off the Sex and the City TV show, but because we find many evangelical thinkers in Britain to be reasonable, culturally engaged and radically faithfulÉnicely done.
The Technical Virgin: How Far Is Too Far? Hayley Demarco (Revell) $14.99 Like her Sexy Girls: How Hot Is Too Hot this is packaged to attract hip, younger women, with solid insight and practical wisdom. Honest and credible, easy-to-read and fun.
Sexual Ethics and Adolescent Girls Barbara Blodgett (Pilgrim) $20.00 This is not for everyone, but it does offer a remarkable bit of thinking of how liberal feminist theologiansÑwho typically affirm the eroticÑhave perhaps failed to adequately understand the development of adolescent girls. Semi-scholarly research on the sexual attitudes of young women in light of liberal feminist thought. Fascinating.
Real Choices: Listening to Women, Looking for Alternatives to Abortion Frederica Mathews-Green (Concliar Press) $14.95 This is an extraordinary book, based on great journalistic interviews, solid and helpful faith perspectives and a passionate care for those stuck in hard places of unexpected pregnancies. The author is a bridge-builder between those who hold opposition view of the legality abortion, but invites all to help support troubled pregnancies and offer true choices for life and hope. Nothing like it in print; highly recommended.