Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The new narcissism

"The Body Project is Joan Jacobs Brumberg's fascinating account of the changing sense of self, over a century, in adolescent American girls.

"Looking at their diaries, she found that in the late nineteenth century, girls scarcely mentioned their bodies. Moral language was reserved for improving character. In a diary of 1892, for example, there is the entry:

"Resolved, not to talk about myself or my feelings. To think before speaking. To work seriously. To be self-restrained in conversation and action. Not to let my thoughts wander. To be dignified. Interest myself more in others.
"A diary entry in 1982 reads:

"I will try to make myself better in any way I possibly can with the help of my budget and babysitting money, I will lose weight, get new lenses, already got a new haircut, good make-up, new clothes and accessories."
Anne Manne, 'What about Me? The New Narcissism'; The Monthly (Australia), June, 2006


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