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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Dr Kimberly Jamie

Hockin-Boyers, H., Jamie, K. & Pope, S. (2020). Moving Beyond the Image: Theorising 'Extreme' Female Bodies. Women's Studies International Forum 83: 102416.

Author(s) from Durham


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.