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|Format: DRM Free ePub|
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2010
I will be honest about this. Margot Starbuck's Unsqueezed: Springing Free from Skinny Jeans, Nose Jobs, Highlights and Stilettos (InterVarsity Press, 2010) is not a book I would typically pick up, let alone excitedly read. With its giant, bright red, high heeled shoe on the cover, and a different pair of shoes gracing the first page of each chapter, I worried that it would be a "fluffy" message about how all women are beautiful—a Christian "chick lit" book that would provide milk when I was longing for meat, to use the metaphor of Hebrews 5. But I will happily (and humbly) admit that I was very wrong.
Starbuck writes conversationally, refreshingly and humorously relaying stories of her own insecurities, inner dialogue, and interactions with her family and friends. She utilizes lots of examples from pop culture. She is very funny. And yet, somehow, she accomplishes all of this with a profound sensitivity to those from cultures other than her own and to those who are marginalized—she does not shy away from issues of gender, ethnicity, poverty, and disability, both in secular and Christian cultures. She wrestles honestly with how to reflect the radical and transformative gospel of Christ in mind, spirit, body, and community. She asks good questions, and she tells the truth.
Starbuck delves into topics from marketing, makeup, and polka dots, to others-centeredness, self-acceptance, and gluttony. She explores what it means to be made in the image of God, and how we can show others, through what we do with our bodies, that we belong to Christ. She also has an uncanny way of highlighting the hypocrisy and illogic deep within many of us. Take for instance:
The strange tragedy that the majority of the world wonders how they will get their next meal, while many Americans spend much of their time, energy, and money in an effort to not overeat.
The fact that most US women are more concerned with how their bodies appear, rather than with what they can do.
The truth that God made our bodies to be instrumental, rather than purely ornamental, and that we are made to use our bodies to be in relationship—serving and loving those around us.
Each of Unsqueezed's twenty-seven chapters boasts a catchy subtitle like "How Women Agree with our Thingification," "The Life-Changing Day I Actually Needed a Milkshake," and "From Doritos to Discipleship." They are short—several chapters take less than five minutes to read—and would work well for devotions. In fact, I recommend only reading a chapter at a time; each vignette provides a nugget that could, at least for someone like me, be something to really ponder for a while. That, along with the thoughtful discussion questions provided at the end of the book, make Unsqueezed an excellent selection for small groups. For women who are ready to move from discussion into action, Starbuck also highlights practical steps and resources for putting these principles into use.
The great benefit to Starbuck's book is in its ability to pose deep questions in a friendly way, thereby encouraging Christian women of many ages, cultures, and points of view to dialogue. In a culture that bombards women with destructive ideas about their worth and identity, and in a church that has not adequately addressed its deep devaluing of females, Unsqueezed is a refreshing challenge that I highly recommend we take up.
---Megan Greulich, former editor of Mutuality Magazine
---Used with permission from Christians for Biblical Equality
"Unsqueeze from the skinny jeans and enjoy the humor, stories and practical tips Margot has squeezed into these pages instead! This is a book for real women who have real thighs, real pimples and real issues with accepting the bodies God gave them. Margot assures and reassures us of God's amazing love for us just the way we are. Couch pants, here I come!"
"Starbuck responds to societal pressure to strive for physical perfection with this lighthearted and laid-back book. She's no stranger to the influence of advertising and honestly shares her struggles to avoid falling into a snare. Ultimately, Starbuck observes, God loves His creations just as they are, and artificial means aren't required to maintain a relationship with the heavenly Father."
"Margot Starbuck finally says what all of us are thinking and, with God obviously whispering in her ear, tells us what to do with it. A must-read for any woman of any age who has ever wrestled with her body image. And who hasn't?"
"Margot Starbuck is one unique cookie. And her countercultural message says you are too so ditch the 'culture's insane enslavement to physical beauty' and get on with getting okay with yourself, just the way you are. In a quirky, often funny, über real and refreshing altogether unhomogenized voice she lays out an argument against valuing bodies for how they appear. Unsqueezed is unsettling. Even if you disagree on some of her points, she provokes thought. The writing also surprisesin a book on body image she manages to address social justice. Fantastic. Cheers to Margot."
"Margot Starbuck reminds us of what's most important: being who God made us to be. That's a truth any young adult, woman or man struggling with body image will never forget."
"In a time of rising cultural backlash against unrealistic standards of beauty and value, Margot Starbuck is a fun, fresh voice. And a true woman."
"What are bodies for? With wit and humor Margot Starbuck answers this question and shows us our distorted thinking in regard to our female bodies. With gentle prodding she shows us how to see our bodies through God's eyes. She helps us laugh at ourselves without ever laughing at us. Give this book to your girlfriends and you will start a conversation about the beauty dilemma that plagues Christian women."
"This book is brilliant! Since beginning to work with eating disorders I've read a lot of books out there on women's relationships with food and their bodies. I found Unsqueezed honest, insightful, challenging and laugh-out-loud funny. It is now at the top of my list for books on food and body image issues. Margot writes with authenticity, heart and a thoroughly biblical understanding of how God designed us to understand the human body. I highly recommend it."
"Margot Starbuck navigates the complexities of self-image, appearance, our bodies and beauty with humor, insight and wisdom. Get ready to be both entertained and moved. You will be laughing out loud one moment, then suddenly challenged with biblical truths that will transform your thinking and inspire change. Reading Unsqueezed is a truly liberating experience."
"One of the best books I've seen that gives genuine encouragement to women regarding who they are and becoming all that God wants them to be. I love the emphasis placed on relationship rather than appearance. Every woman in the world needs the truth found in these pages!"
"Occasionally, someone comes along and challenges you to thinkreally thinkabout what it means to follow Jesus in this body you've been given. Unsqueezed did what a book really ought to do: it made me think. This book is the best sort of 'ouch.'"
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