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Perfection and exhaustion: Courtney Martin’s Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters

Perfection and exhaustion: Courtney Martin’s Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters published on No Comments on Perfection and exhaustion: Courtney Martin’s Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters

Does this sound like you: Female, age 18-28, told you can have it all, convinced you need to save the world AND take care of your friends AND your family AND your body, andover-achieving person who’s constantly striving to look better, smiling to the outer world, hitting the gym every other day, reading the latest self-help book [outwardly mocking but secretly listening to it], going vegetarian for health reasons…only to throw up your hands in exhaustion, eat an 8-ounce rare dead animal, despair at the hope of ever getting promoted, wish you could just have some hugs, nix the family reunion because you really can’t stand your great-aunt, feel sick and tired of your personal responsibility to be eternally successful and put together… Blogger [for Feministing] Courtney Martin’s new book, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters, talks about the widespread struggle between perfection and exhaustion experienced by many contemporary bourgeois women.

Ignore the categorization and ads for this book that say that it’s all about eating disorders. From what I can tell, the book appears to address the larger issue of young women’s anxious relationships with their bodies. Super-achieving feminist go-getting vies within us against secret tiredness and desires for affection and peace. I saw a clip of her reading about the perfection vs. exhaustion struggle, and I thought that it had greater applicability than to just those women who have eating disorders. The internal strife she was writing about can be found in many current bourgeois women’s lives. 

Perhaps I’m particularly interested in it because I’m trying to pack and simplify my belongings and write a book and do seven hundred and eleventy-five book reviews and do all my occupational work and ensure a raise and eat right and sleep tight and keep the bedbugs from biting all at the same time…anyway, I think I’ll check it out…after my nap [hahah!].

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