Body Work The Social Construction of Women's Body Image by Sylvia K. Blood

By Sylvia K. Blood

Are medical 'facts' approximately physique picture sufficient to outline conceptions of normality?

Reassessing Experimental Psychology from a severe viewpoint, Sylvia Blood demonstrates how its study into physique photograph will be misused and at risk of misuse. Classifying girls who adventure misery and anxiousness with nutrients, consuming and physique dimension as pain 'body picture disturbance' or 'body photograph dissatisfaction', it could actually reproduce dominant assumptions approximately language, which means and subjectivity. Experimental psychology's discourse approximately physique snapshot has lately turn into extra largely influential, changing into popularised via domain names equivalent to women’s magazines, during which mental specialists offer 'facts' approximately women's 'body photograph problems', and supply recommendation and mental treatments.

With acute cross-disciplinary know-how Body paintings: The Social development of Women's physique Image exposes the assumptions at paintings within the equipment and standing of experimental ways. Penetrating past the standard dichotomy among experimental and renowned psychology, this publication illuminates a number of the ways that women's magazines have embraced experimental psychology's therapy of the problem. Drawing on her event in scientific Psychology, Sylvia Blood highlights the dangerous results of uncritically experimental perspectives of physique photo. She is going directly to complex not just another version of discursive development but in addition the consequences of this kind of concept for medical practice.

Merging thought and scientific adventure, Sylvia Blood exposes the fallacies approximately women’s our bodies that underpin experimental psychology's physique photo learn. She demonstrates the harmful effects of those fallacies being authorized as truths in renowned texts and within the speak of 'everyday' women.

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Extra resources for Body Work The Social Construction of Women's Body Image (Women and Psychology)

Sample text

From this perspective, language does not get its meaning via a correspondence with objects or events in the external world, neither is it seen as expressing or reflecting already existing psychological and social realities. Instead, language is taken to be constitutive of social life and social practices. Language ‘makes things happen’ – that is, it is used to construct and create social interaction and diverse social worlds (Wetherell and Potter, 1992: 101–15). Language, in this view, is an activity that is both performative and indexical.

By implication, the body image-disturbed person is irrational. In summary, underpinning this research are clear assumptions on which the whole notion of body image and body image disturbance rests. First, there is an objectively knowable body which can be perceived more or less accurately (body image) by the more or less rational mind. Second, hypothetical ‘real’ cognitive structures – whose output can be measured – are considered to be the site of inaccurate perception. Body image research is thus characterised by a strongly objectivist framework.

Averaged data and statistical analyses support psychology’s claims to expert, consistent and exhaustive knowledge about women’s views of their bodies. For instance, Thompson (1986) claims that 95% of the 100 white, middle-class, ‘normal’ women in his study over-estimate the size of their bodies. g. Cash and Brown, 1987). Popular women’s magazines do the same thing (see Cleo magazine, 1993, in Chapter 5). References to ‘females’ (‘women’ is not a term used) in the body image literature inevitably imply one homogeneous group.

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