Writing About Bodies, Compiled For You

The Best of The Internet's Thoughts on Bodies

The Female Body

"And he grinds his teeth because she doesn't understand, and wanders off, not just alone but Alone, lost in the dark, lost in the skull, searching for the other half, the twin who could complete him. 

Then it comes to him: he's lost the Female Body! Look, it shines in the gloom, far ahead, a vision of wholeness, ripeness, like a giant melon, like an apple, like a metaphor for breast in a bad sex novel; it shines like a balloon, a foggy noon, a watery moon, shimmering in its egg of light.

Catch it. Put it in a pumpkin, in a high tower, in a compound, in a chamber, in a house, in a room. Quick, stick a leash on it, a lock, a chain, some pain, settle it down so it can never get away from you again."

- Margaret Atwood


The Itch

"The feelings people experience in their phantom limbs are far too varied and rich to be explained by the random firings of a bruised nerve. People report not just pain but also sensations of sweatiness, heat, texture, and movement in a missing limb. There is no experience people have with real limbs that they do not experience with phantom limbs. They feel their phantom leg swinging, water trickling down a phantom arm, a phantom ring becoming too tight for a phantom digit.


The account of perception that’s starting to emerge is what we might call the “brain’s best guess” theory of perception: perception is the brain’s best guess about what is happening in the outside world." - Atul Gawande


Eddie Huang Gets Real About Male Body Anxiety (Also, Being an Underwear Model)

"You’re like, I’m not going to look like Justin Bieber in this underwear, even though we have the same birthday." - Eddie Huang


The Year I Grew Wildly While Men Looked On

"I was walking home from school when a man pulled his car over and asked me for my phone number. I told him how old I was and he spat on the ground next to my feet. 'Go home and tell your mama she needs to be dressing you like you’re 13. You almost didn’t get treated like somebody’s child.' He sped off." - Ashley C. Ford


What Bullets Do To Bodies

"I wondered what surgeons know about gun violence that the rest of us don’t. We are inundated with news about shootings. Fourteen dead in San Bernardino, six in Michigan, 11 over one weekend in Chicago. We get names, places, anguished Facebook posts, wonky articles full of statistics on crime rates and risk, Twitter arguments about the Second Amendment—everything except the blood, the pictures of bodies torn by bullets. That part is concealed, sanitized. More than 30,000 people die of gunshot wounds each year in America, around 75,000 more are injured, and we have no visceral sense of what physically happens inside a person when he’s shot." - Jason Fagone


Seven Ways to Love Your Body After Experiencing Rape

"This is still my body." - Lena Solow 


Fat Acceptance Burns More Than Calories

"My most transgressive and transformative action came simply and without expectations of the ramifications it would have for my fat acceptance. I was running on the elliptical machine, absorbed in my breathing, music filling my ears, when the act occurred. Until this very moment on a Friday afternoon, if sweat was coating my face I would pull up on the neck of my shirt. But then, recklessly, I did it. I lifted the hem of my T-shirt, exposing my round belly, complete with the light pink trails of stretch marks across its nearly fluorescent white skin, to wipe my sweaty face while running." - Emily Anderson


A Thin Line Between Mother and Daughter

"It is in the body of a true anorexic that the irony of equating
thinness with power becomes grotesquely obvious: shriveled, weak, married to a project of self-erasure that often ends in death... A conspirator could not have planned it better." - Jennifer Egan


Is Anorexia A Cultural Disease?

"Dieting is potentially dangerous because food restriction can set off a chain of events in a vulnerable person's brain and body. For most people, diets end after a modest weight loss (and are, more often than not, followed by a regain of the lost weight, plus a few "bonus" pounds as a reward for playing). For the 1 percent to 5 percent of the population that has a genetic vulnerability to an eating disorder, that innocent attempt at weight loss, "healthy eating," or other situation that results in fewer calories being eaten than necessary, can trigger a life-threatening eating disorder." - Carrie Arnold


Is Anorexia Genetic?

'Interestingly, the most incisive interpretations of anorexia often fail to stick in the public consciousness. Two doctors who treated anorexics in Toronto in the 1930s left behind a remarkably astute description of the type: "Most of them are intelligent, some to a marked degree; all are highly sensitive," they wrote. "Usually they are impulsive, willful, introspective, and emotionally unstable." Then, refuting the cliché that anorexics are ruled by insecurity, the doctors suggested instead that they're driven by positive desires: "They have a strong desire for prominence and dominance."' -Kate Taylor


There Once Was a Girl: Against The False Narratives of Anorexia.

"Projecting myself into that body, I think I loved the implication that someone might pay close enough attention to me to worry about my collarbone." - Katy Waldman