05 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

How Much Do You Weigh?: The Photobook by Erin Nieto

I was impressed by the concept of this book, but it felt unfinished. Very unfinished. I really did want to love it, but I’m left loving the idea of it.

The opening was really well done and the concept was well thought out, but the execution is where this books falls short for me. Let me try to explain…

The book starts out talking about women and how we view our bodies and ourselves. It talks about how the book came about and how they got their models, etc. It then shows photos of volunteer models and what their weight number is, some quotes at the end. But that’s it.

I felt too disconnected from the people in the book. Why not give these women a voice? A chance to share their stories. What their weight means to them, why they decided to participate? Give me some information, something. I felt like we needed to know more about them, it was too disconnected. In some ways, I felt like it was almost fake. I mean, we’re not supposed to care about that number right? Then why just show me a photo and that number? Why not tell me about the person behind it?

Perhaps the problem comes from the fact that I’ve seen concept books such as this one done so well in the past (such as the Fearless Women series) that I really was disappointed in the end execution. I’m not saying there wasn’t value here, but it could have been so much better.

I’d recommend this for those that have body issues (raising hand), but if you’re looking for inspiration or if you’re looking for stories, this might not be the right book.

Note: The author provided me a review copy of this book at no cost.

Reviews from advance readers: “Powerful and empowering”, “Nice book, great idea, and good conversation starter”, “Lovely….addresses such an important topic”

You step on your bathroom scale and take a glance downward at the number the scale reads. But how do you process that information?

If you’re like most of us, you have anxiety about it no matter what the number is.

Perhaps you are ashamed of your weight because you feel that you need to lose 10 or 20 or 100 pounds to be closer to what your estimate of the “ideal” weight is. Perhaps you are ashamed of your weight because you are often teased for being so skinny.

Perhaps you have no idea what anyone else weighs either, so always feel that your weight is wrong, wrong, wrong. And as a result, you are insecure about it.

And that is tough. To let that number, which you feel is wrong, dictate how you feel about yourself. To let it interfere with your relationship to food, to exercise, to clothes, to each other. Sucking the joy out of those relationships which are meant to nourish us, protect us, and make us stronger.

But can it just be what it is? Can we, for once, own our weight and offer no apology? Would we burst into flames?

The author’s hypothesis was that making this private, embarrassing information public would be a helpful thing. That it would give the rest of us some kind of real-life compass when we’re staring down at our own bathroom scales; an example beyond the photoshopped 100lb models in the size zero jeans. That women of all sizes have the awesome; it’s not reserved for those of us close enough to the diabolical cultural standard, because the awesome comes from within. From our enjoyment of life, our families and friends, and the world around us.

The end result: A photobook featuring 24 women and the number that is their weight. Putting it out there for the world to see. No apologies. No hedging. Letting it be what is it is, and opening up the secret for you, so you can see that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, stigma be damned.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Book count for 2011: 58

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