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    Thursday, May 16, 2013

    Body Language: Sisters in Shape, Black Women's Fitness, and Feminist Identity Politics by Kimberly J. Lau

    "Lau has authored a theoretically nuanced ethnographic study of Sisters in Shape (SIS), technically a consulting firm of personal trainers located in Philadelphia... Lau describes the ways in which the discourses of self-esteem enacted by SIS members engage women to improve personal fitness as well as family and community health... She also listens carefully to the women as they integrate spiritual, social, and health goals and negotiate familial and cultural expectations. The future orientation of SIS fitness discourse provides a potential way of reimagining identity politics as situated knowledges, accommodating postmodern critique and lived experience. Summing Up: Highly recommended." Choice, March 2012 "This engaging, thoughtful book interweaves theory, history, and the heartfelt by using the reflective words of the Black women who participated in the program [Sisters in Shape]... Readers will be inspired by the narratives as the participants share their challenges not just around weight but issues of oppression and the search for community. Their stories are largely triumphant as the author weaves a story of women countering a culture of competition with the strength of community support... Overall, the reader will come away with a more feminist view of the pathways needed to attain greater health and well-being for Black women, body and soul." - Psychology of Women Quarterly "Firmly situated within the ongoing feminist discussions of identity politics, Lau's book calls for both theoretical and cultural activism... While much work has been done in recent decades on popular cultures' topdown effects on women's body images, Lau's book offers a rare insight into body image in the context of ethnographic cultural inputs... [F]olklorists who study the intersection of culture and health will find many telling examples of how and when cultural pressures affect lifestyle choices, for good or for bad." - Western Folklore Download Link
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    Item Reviewed: Body Language: Sisters in Shape, Black Women's Fitness, and Feminist Identity Politics by Kimberly J. Lau Rating: 5 Reviewed By: asar tehuti
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