American women today are faced with a paradox: they uphold an ideal of beauty--long, lean, toned--that increasingly bears little resemblance to truth about their size. Women around the world are spending more time, money, and energy pursuing this ideal than ever before. So why does the “perfect body” remain so elusive? And why does the definition of “ideal” vary so widely between countries and cultures?
The World Has Curves is journalist Julia Savacool’s attempt to answer these questions. She takes readers on a world tour--from China, where the plastic surgery industry is booming; to South Africa, where a heavier shape signals health in a country ravaged by disease; to Afghanistan, where the burka once again reigns supreme. Through extensive reporting and intimate interviews, she offers readers an understanding of how body ideals--in America and abroad--have come to be inextricably linked to the economics of a culture and the impact of globalization.
From news programs to reality shows, from prime time comedy to national advertising campaigns, the topic of women’s bodies and our collective judgment of the perfect shape is ever-present. This engaging narrative is newsworthy and provocative and will advance our cultural conversation.