Showing posts from December, 2019

No Going Back after the First Pluck?

Outside Hirsutism1 and at times pubic hair2, societal perceptions of women’s bodies include an absence of hair3, as we know female beauty and normative femininity is still overall represented and perceived through a hairless appearance. Representations overarchingly continuing to construct and maintain an image of a ‘fuzz free’ look as natural for women (Jenkins, 2017; Smelik, 2015; Fahs and Delgardo, 2011), and hair outside what should softly cascade from our scalps, as the invader to be plucked, waxed, shaved, bleached and/or lasered off. 

Accordingly, even as representations of hairlessness are brought into question in the UK and elsewhere, with female celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Amber Rose and Madonna publicly embracing their body hair, hair removal products and methods continue to boom. 

For the BSA (British South Asian) women I interviewed in Birmingham4, the mundane and routine act of hair removal that often starts in adolescence, is positioned as requiring continuous and dedic…

Good Girls and Dutiful Wives: The impact of Protestant femininities on sufferers of anorexia

The very term ‘Protestant femininity' could be considered a misnomer: ‘Protestant’ covers a wide spectrum of traditions; and Christian traditions tend not to theorise over constructed femininities, preferring – particularly those of a more conservative leaning – to understand woman as a stable concept with only one model.Nonetheless, I argue that there has emerged from the more conservative Protestant churches in Western culture, a construction of ‘ideal femininity’. In my research with Christian women who have suffered from anorexia, it has become apparent that this ideal’s expectations have contributed to their illness.
Two memoirs of eating disorders offer a perspective on the Protestant feminine ideal and its relation to weight and food: Jo Ind writes of her compulsive eating disorder (Fat is a Spiritual Issue) and Emma Scrivener recounts her experience of anorexia (A New Name). Both women express the difficulty they had surrounding their own identity, the expectations of bei…