The World Has Curves

39930958Note: This post is cross-posted today at

In its September issue, FITNESS magazine plugged a new book due out September 15 that looks like something I want to read.

A play off Thomas Friedman’s book on globalization (The World Is Flat, a personal fave) this book is called The World Has Curves: The Quest for the Perfect Body.

In her research, author Julia Savacool, articles director at FITNESS, interviewed 100 women in eight countries around the world to learn what defines “gorgeous.”

In a blurb that caught my eye in the September issue, South Africa, Jamaica and Japan are featured.

In South Africa, she discovered that a round figure is the sought-after shape; in a nation “ravaged by AIDS, thinness is associated with illness.”

In Jamaica, where “the social scene revolves around hip-centric dancing,” the sought-after shape seems to be a narrow waist and a wide bottom.

And in Japan, “slim but strong” is the sought after shape. As she notes, “modern women reject the old-school demure, kimono-clad archetypes.”

In my experiences traveling and living abroad, I’ve seen all kinds of beauty, beauty that wouldn’t necessarily be what an American woman might strive for, but is the “ideal” elsewhere. So I think a book like this has a lot of potential to open our eyes and explore beauty on a whole different level.

While globalization has surely impacted standards of “beauty,” (and body image issues are becoming more and more  universal),  it seems like Savacool’s research will show us that in some places, curves are most definitely not only in, but greatly desired. After being bombarded with images of stick-thin celebrities, I’m guessing it’ll be a refreshing reprieve.

If you’re interested, you can read the first few pages of the book here. After I get my hands on a copy, I’ll do a proper review — but in the meantime, I wanted to call attention to a book that seems to have a lot of promise.

How about you? What do you think about sought-after shapes around the world? If you struggle with your own body image issues, would you feel more comfortable if you lived elsewhere? (i.e., not the U.S.)?


3 thoughts on “The World Has Curves

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