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Title: 'Stars say... Sod the diet!' : ambivalent negotiation of the skinny/curvy/fat celebrity body
Author: Tomrley, Corinna Gail
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 6501
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2010
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This project examines contemporary understandings of the body, specifically those pertaining to fatness. The focus is celebrity gossip magazines (CGMs) as they are a common form through which women's bodies are scrutinised. I ask: How are women's bodies discussed through the discourses of fatness and femininity in celebrity gossip texts? How do women make sense of bodies through these texts? Much feminist theorising of the body has engaged with the idea of women's bodies as always in need of correction. Such work has limited discussion of lived fatness while more radical perspectives on fatness have been largely written out of feminist history. This thesis draws from both fat studies and women's studies and situates the presentation of bodies and fat in CGMs at their intersection. The research methodology utilises three sites: gossip magazines, interviews with women who read CGMs, and an online survey of responses to gossip images. The analysis centres on identifying the interplay of notions of skinny / curvy/fat in the representation of bodies and investigating the slippages and interactions between these terms. Gossip texts are shown to offer ambiguous views on women's bodies due to their shifting presentation of 'flaws', and this practice creates spaces for more realistic perceptions of bodies. Criticism of body idealisation stems from the incorporation of feminist work into a popular critical consciousness; but while 'the media' is often blamed for 'harmful' images, CGMs are complex, and this research demonstrates how women both criticise and enjoy them. In conclusion, as feminists we need to highlight embodiment and challenge our assumptions about body size, as well as demonstrate women's ability to change how female bodies are portrayed and discussed and consider discourse about femininity and fat from the perspectives of women of all sizes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available