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Reconstructing normal : women and the "problem" body

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Reconstructing normal : women and the "problem" body

Oliver, Kristen (2008) Reconstructing normal : women and the "problem" body. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Women are popularly portrayed in the media and in academic literature as being dissatisfied with their bodies (Garner, 1997). This prompted me to ask, given the dominance of the discourse of the 'problem' body, how 'problematic' is this dissatisfaction in the daily life of the average woman? I conducted life-history interviews with 20 women between the ages of 22 and 59. They revealed three ideal types of women, which I present as three groups. First, the "butterflies" focused their life stories on what they identified as a significant positive change in their overall perception of their bodies. Second, the "yo-yos" focused their narratives on their overall body dissatisfaction. Finally, the "holistics" shared narratives of overall body satisfaction and appreciation. Health, the 'problem' body, and aging were the dominant topics in the narratives of all the women, regardless of age or group. The interviews revealed that while some of the women were critical and dissatisfied with aspects of their bodies, all of the women reported at least minimal body satisfaction. What this means is that while the 'problem' body is real and present in the lives of these women, they are not spending their lives focused on their bodies, and in most cases body concerns take up little of their time.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Oliver, Kristen
Pagination:v, 130 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Sociology and Anthropology
Date:2008
Thesis Supervisor(s):Beaman, Lori
ID Code:975895
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:16
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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