“I just really think I'm too fat”: Female friends' stories of body dissatisfaction, subjugation and resistance

Terri L Russ, Purdue University


The purpose of this study was to explore the intersections of discourse and social power. Focusing on the lived experience of discourse, the study addresses how we exact subjugation or subject positions on ourselves and others through our discourses---personal, social and cultural. The study is localized within the site of young women's friendships in order to answer the question of to what extent does women's friendship discourse concern discussions of the female body and recreate external discourses used to subjugate women to an ideal sexualized body? The study is comprised of seven pairs of friends who were interviewed, who recorded an open conversation between themselves and who met as a group. Through their narratives, they illustrate that body dissatisfaction is a common feeling amongst them and their friends. Additionally their narratives explicated the myriad components feeding into this dissatisfaction, including media depictions of ideal images of women, interpersonal pressures from friends and family, and remarks from guys they are dating or wish to date. While they express concern that they will be stuck with such feelings for the rest of their life, they do formulate active plans of resistance through their group discourse.




Rawlins, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Womens studies|Communication|Philosophy

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