Based on a corpus of home economics advice columns from American and French women’s magazines (Modes et Travaux and Good Housekeeping) between 1934 and 2010, this paper analyzes the women’s ideal body, its measures, and the place of diet as a particular way to discipline corpulence. French and American specificities and evolutions over time are highlighted. The paper underlines the links between body measures (inches, then pounds) and the techniques to lose weight, from an external way to an internal one, in particular daily diet. Thus, we can observe the transformations of body representations, from a body-machine, to a tailor-made body. In parallel, women’s responsibility in this matter increases. Presented as a way of hedonism, body’s work is more and more constraint.
- Women’s Magazines