I have both a good excuse and a poor excuse for not updating my site in a few days—the good excuse is that my web developer left town for the long weekend, leaving me high and dry when it came to posting my entries. Someday, my goal is to learn how to do it on my own. The poor excuse is that since I knew no one would be reading my entries this weekend, I didn’t write any at all—d’oh! 

However, my weekend was not a complete waste. I spent some quality time with myself, planning my seemingly chaotic life for the next 2 ½ years as I endeavor through grad school. Class starts in less than two days and I am feeling that combination of utter excitement and pending anxiety that always precedes something new in my life. I was also aware of blending in some fun time for myself, which I spent by hanging out with Liz and Susan, reading a few good books, and partaking in a bit of jewelry making. 

One of the books I finished was Appetites: Why Women Want by Caroline Knapp. Wow. What an amazing combination of personal memoirs and psychology around women and their various vices around the topics of hunger and appetite. As I mentioned before, Knapp passed away a few years ago (right after the book was published) at a rather young age. I am so sad for her family, but also for women in general—I can only imagine what other pieces she would have put together in the future. 

The basic premise of the book, which is also covered by feminist writers such as Naomi Wolf, is that issues around hunger such as body image, anorexia, bulimia, calorie counting, binge eating, and exercise distract women from the bigger hungers in their lives such as career goals, intellectual pursuits, healthy relationships, and a fulfilling sense of sexuality. As she says on page 52, “The great anxious focus on the minutiae of appetite—on calories and portion size and what’s going into the body versus what’s been expended, on shoes and hair and abs of steel—keeps the larger, more fearsome questions of desire blurred and out of focus.” 

While this may seem like a tired topic, I found that Knapp really took the time to research and delve deeper into the meanings behind women’s appetites by studying a few distinct topics—women and culture, mother/daughter relationships, sexuality, and overall body image. She also tied her research into mini-stories and examples from women who were willing to share their stories about their appetites. 

I particularly enjoyed her views on female sexuality and our “missing discourse of desire,” which describes how females are taught all about the mechanical and scientific aspects of sexuality but never about the emotional or pleasurable parts. This is why many girls grow into adult women who have no idea how to orgasm and partake in sex because that is what sexuality means to them—someone finding them attractive enough to take them to bed. Particularly in my career, I meet many women who admit to not enjoying sex or not feeling attractive enough to pursue their own happiness. 

Besides those sections, I also read quite a few passages that really resounded with me on a more personal level—particularly the chapter around family, motherhood, and how personal and family expectations can differ greatly.