The Hungry Self: Women, Eating, and Identity 


Some five million American women (at least) suffer from eating disorders ranging from compulsive dieting to compulsive eating, anorexia, and bulemia. The Hungry Self explores the often troubled relationship between mothers and daughters, and the daughter’s reluctance to grow away from and perhaps beyond the mother, to achieve the independence and autonomy expected of women in today’s world. Instead, daughters of all ages and backgrounds flee the struggle for identity and self-development into an obsession with food.

Buy In PaperbackBuy In Hardcover


“An inspired psychoanalytic meditation on contemporary female identity and eating disorders.”

– Phyllis Chesler, New York Times

“Every woman will understand the problem of The Hungry Self–the hunger that is expressed through food but that covers our deepest need to realize a fully developed and autonomous self, a self that can satisfy the authentic for hungers within us. In this, her most compelling work, Kim Chernin gives us a metaphor for our age.”

– Lillian Rubin

“Kim Chernin offers a perspective that is refreshingly different. Her identification of the roots of eating disorders in women’s roles is a positive step and her solution far more joyous and rational than any other I have seen.”

– Robin Lakoff, San Francisco Chronicle

“Fascinating…I’m going to read it again, and then I’ll send it to my mother, who will see not only me and herself in its pages, but her mother too, the truth is, I don’t know many women who won’t find themselves in here somewhere.”

– Mademoiselle