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Moving beyond the image : theorising 'extreme' female bodies.

Hockin-Boyers, H. and Jamie, K. and Pope, S. (2020) 'Moving beyond the image : theorising 'extreme' female bodies.', Women's studies international forum., 83 . p. 102416.


Since their entry onto the competitive scene in 1977, female bodybuilders have been the subject of sustained debate among scholars from a range of disciplines. Within this body of literature, discourses are polarised and offer two opposing representations of the female bodybuilder; one of resistance and one of compliance. This bifurcation of discourse, we argue, is symptomatic of a more general occularcentric tradition within theorising on ‘extreme’ or transgressive female bodies. In this article, we unpack these disparate perspectives and by drawing on research relating to anorexia and fat studies we advocate for an alternative theoretical space, premised on the affectual relationality/co-constitution of materiality and representation, from which to approach female bodybuilding as a corporeal practice. Moreover, we propose that by developing an interdisciplinary approach to female corporeality (muscularity, thinness, fatness etc.), we can dismantle unproductive and ontologically redundant divisions which segregate and silo feminist writing on embodiment.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 11 September 2022.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© 2020 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:01 September 2020
Date deposited:09 September 2020
Date of first online publication:11 September 2020
Date first made open access:11 September 2022

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