The next few poems (Beautiful/The Diet/The Woman Who Shopped) elaborate on the societal restraints and culture standards that women are both subjected to and subject themselves to.
This poem ironically explores the maxim ‘inside every fat woman there is …..
In this poem Duffy ridicules the contemporary obsession with women's weight and weight loss.
The poem “The Diet” by Carol Ann Duffy deals with women and body discipline, through the form of anorexia.
The first stanza of “The Diet” opens up with just that: the woman is dieting to the extreme. As the diet progresses, the woman begins to physically disappear. “By the end of the month, she was skin/ and bone,” yet “she starved on,” showing how a diet to apparently lose weight has grown into a disease.
Duffy writes that “her skeleton preened under its tight flesh dress.” Her word choice here is vital to understanding the connection back to Duffy’s work. Preened means “give effort to making oneself look attractive and then admire one’s appearance.” The woman in the poem has developed an obsession with meeting the unattainable standards society demands of a woman’s body, so much so that she has turned into a skeleton. There is no space left to lose, yet she continues to lose weight
The last two stanzas of the poem are incredibly powerful; the seed sized woman lands on the wrong tongue. “She knew where she was all right…inside the Fat Woman now, / trying to get out.” Despite all of her hard work, the woman is right back where she started, trapped inside the Fat Woman she tried to escape. The capitalization that Duffy uses here assumes that it’s not just any fat woman the main character is trapped inside, but the Fat Woman. “The Fat Woman” symbolizes everything that women in society are taught to stay away from, taught to despise, taught to fight; Duffy’s poem shows that no matter how hard the main character tried, she ended up right back where she started. Because, just like Bartky says in…