Body Phobia: The Western Roots of Our Fear of Difference

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Your body is who you are. We will only build a just society by rejecting fear of our bodies.
American culture hates the fact that we have bodies–from evangelical culture, which insists “you are a soul and have a body,” to wellness culture that turns your control over your body into a moral test, to transphobic activism that insists any step taken to change one’s body is an immoral act, to the treatment of disabled bodies in a profoundly ableist culture. Fear has led cisgender, white, and able-bodied Americans to deprioritize the physical experience and prioritize the mind alone, contributing to our alienation from one another, the marginalization of certain kinds of bodies, and harm to us all.
Body Phobia is an examination of the American fear of the body, how it permeates all parts of culture, who gets to be perceived as more than their body, and who does not. By becoming self-aware of how our bodies interact with the world and what it means to have a body, we can begin to overcome the harm done in divorcing the American body and the American mind for centuries. Through cutting analysis and candid storytelling, Dianna E. Anderson exposes our fear-based politics and shows us a way to approach bodies that is neither positive nor negative but neutral. Our bodies are. And that’s enough.