Tongue First by Emily Jenkins
Adventures in Physical Culture

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A smart, humorous exploration of bodily thrills and paranoia from aerobics to acupuncture, strip shows to sensory deprivation.

Your perception of your body will change when you read this book. You will be pulling on your boxer shorts or your black lace bra, and suddenly consider why you decorate yourself the way you do. You will shake up your martini, kiss your beloved, read a dirty magazine, go for a jog, and think about what your bodily behavior says about your soul. And what it is doing to your soul. You will notice the defenses you erect for yourself. Perhaps a tube of lipstick. Perhaps an addiction.

Testing the boundaries between fear and temptation, Emily Jenkins takes us on a journey from ordinary physical experiences (going to the dentist, putting on stockings) to extreme ones (snorting heroin, shaving her head). She interviews people whose bodies are radically different from hers and enters communities where people share unusual ideas about physicality. Sometimes you will recognize your own habits. Other times you'll be shocked or repulsed. Always you will find yourself questioning the ordinary things you do, rethinking your relationship to your body.

About Emily Jenkins

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Emily Jenkins is earning a Ph.D. in English literature at Columbia University and is co-author of a novel for children, The Secret Life of Billy's Uncle Myron. She lives in New York City and writes for Swing and Feed.
Published August 15, 1998 by Holt Paperbacks. 256 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical, Self Help. Non-fiction

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Strangely, Jenkins finds one of the simplest experiments--shaving her head--proves to be the most disturbing: it forces her to ""look down in shame when an acquaintance passes me on the street, to hesitate going to a party because I feel so ugly, to choose clothes that render me invisible."" Whil...

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