Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes
Anne Elizabeth Moore
Curbside Splendor Softcover $16.95 (300pp) 978-1-940430-88-1
Body Horror is an incredible, touching, intelligent collection that looks beyond what’s comfortable to examine what is true.
By turns tender, insightful, and sharp as a scalpel, Anne Elizabeth Moore’s essays in Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes are unforgettable. Moore writes about the female body—its work, the industries that hang on it and hire it, and its strange, specific illnesses.
Although the common thread in Body Horror is capitalism, Moore doesn’t lecture. Instead, her subjects illustrate how capitalism specifically acts on women. Beginning with a garment workers’ strike in Cambodia, Moore reiterates how “disrupting systems of gender oppression— or the much milder version of the same, exploring new narrative forms—can only come from allowing the oppressed to speak for themselves.”
If that seems a bit esoteric, there are plenty of examples. The collection includes a review of Naomi Wolf’s “vagsplaining” cultural history, and essays on fashion modeling, reproductive disinterest, and Moore’s chronic autoimmune diseases, among many others. How do we define womanhood? she asks. Is our femininity being sold to us, or extracted?
Moore, an award-winning journalist, is by turns humorous and deadly serious. Her writing style is matter-of-fact, a devastating contrast to the seriousness of her subject. For example, she describes how, shortly before police opened fire on a group of striking Cambodian garment workers at Veng Sreng Street, “thousands of happy