Publication detailsColls, R. (2006). Outsize/Outside: Bodily bignesses and the emotional experiences of British women shopping for clothes. Gender Place and Culture 13(5): 529-545.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 0966-369X, 1360-0524
- DOI: 10.1080/09663690600858945
- Keywords: Morphological difference, Clothing, Size, Image.
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
Whilst there has been substantial research in geography concerned with ‘the body’, little consideration has been given to the ‘sized’ body. This article aims to counter this by considering the concept of ‘bodily bignesses’ as a way of understanding the plurality of female emotional and embodied experience through empirical work concerned with British women's experiences of clothes shopping. This involves breaking big bodies out of those categories that act to define their corporeal form for what they ‘represent’ within medical, moral and political contexts. Emphasis is placed upon destabilising the category of ‘bigness’, through utilising the concept of ‘the monstrous’ that is based upon the idea of understanding morphological difference beyond a simple opposition to the ‘normative body’. This provides a way to consider bodily size as a number of differential emotional experiences. For example, empirical examples focus on what it feels like to shop for ‘big clothes’, how women evaluate the suitability of clothing for their (un)suitable bodies, and acknowledges the feelings of self-acceptance that women experience as they come to terms with their bodily size.
Abraham, Suzanne & Llewellyn-Jones, Derek (1997) An
Authoritative Guide on Eating Disorders and How
to Treat Them (Oxford, Oxford University Press).
Adam, A. (2001) Big girl’s blouses: learning to live with polyester, in:
Alison Guy, et al. (Eds) Through the
Wardrobe: Women’s relationships with their clothes, pp. 39–52 (Oxford,
Bordo, Susan (1993) Unbearable Weight: Feminism, western culture and the
body (Berkeley, Los Angeles and
London, University of California Press).
Bovey, Shelley (2002) What Have You Got to Lose?: The great weight debate
and how to diet successfully
(London, Women’s Press).
Brownell, Kelly (1995) Definition and classification of obesity, in: Kelly
Brownell, et al. (Eds) Eating
Disorders and Obesity: A comprehensive handbook, pp. 386–390 (New York,
Colls, Rachel (2002) Bodies out of bounds: fatness and transgression,
Gender Place and Culture, 9(2),
Colls, Rachel (2004) Looking alright, feeling alright: emotions,
‘sizing’ and the geographies of women’s
experiences of clothing consumption, Journal of Social and Cultural
Geographies, 5(4), pp. 583–614.
Cooper, Charlotte (1998) Fat and Proud: The politics of size (London,
Cooper, Charlotte (2004) Pretty, Porky and Pissed Off, available at:
charlottecooper/charlotte/docs/work/diva/prettyporky.htm . (accessed 17
Coote, Anna (2003) Think tank, 15 October, The Guardian.
De la Haye, Amy & Wilson, Elisabeth (Eds) (1999) Defining Dress: Dress as
object, meaning and identity
(Manchester, Manchester University Press).
Delph-Janiurek, Tom (2001) (Un)consensual conversations: betweenness,
‘material access’, laughter
and reflexivity in research, Area, 33(4), pp. 414–421.
Entwistle, Joanne (2000) Fashion and the fleshy body: dress as embodied
practice, Fashion Theory, 4(3),
Entwistle, Joanne & Wilson, Elisabeth (Eds) (2001) Body Dressing (Oxford,
Evans Braziel, Jana & LeBesco, Kathleen (Eds) (2001) Editors’
introduction, in: Bodies Out of Bounds:
Fatness and transgression, pp. 1–15 (Berkeley, University of California
Fairburn, Christopher, et al. (Eds) Eating Disorders and Obesity: A
comprehensive handbook (New York,
Gregson, Nicky, et al. (2002) Shopping, space and practice, Environment
and Planning D: Society and
Space, 20, pp. 597–617.
Grosz, Elisabeth (1994) Volatile Bodies: Towards a corporeal feminism
(Bloomington and Indiana, Indiana
Guy, A., Green, Eileen & Banim, Maura (Eds) (2001) Through the Wardrobe:
Women’s relationships with
their clothes (Oxford, Berg).
House of Commons Health Committee (2004) Obesity: Volume 1 (London, House
Hu, Frank B. (2003) Overweight and obesity in women: health risks and
consequences, Journal of
Women’s Health and Gender-Based Medicine, 12(2), pp. 163–172.
Kuhlmann, Ellen & Babitsch, Birgit (2002) Bodies, health, gender: bridging
feminist theories and
women’s health, Women’s Studies International Forum, 25(4), pp.
LeBesco, Kathleen (2004) Revolting Bodies: The struggle to redefine fat
identity (Amherst and Boston,
University of Massachusetts).
Longhurst, Robyn (2001) Bodies: Exploring fluid boundaries (London,
McKinley, Nita Mary (1999) Ideal weight/ideal women: society constructs
the female, in: Jeffrey Sobal
& Donna Maurer (Eds) Weighty Issues: Fatness and thinness as social
problems, pp. 97–116 (New York,
Aldine de Gruyter).
Monaghan, Lee (2005) Big handsome men, bears and others: virtual
constructions of ‘fast male
embodiment, Body & Society, 11(2), pp. 81–111.
Negrin, Llewellyn (1996) Feminism and fashion: a critical appraisal,
Arena, 6, pp. 75–85.
Rowley, A. (1996) On viewing three paintings by Jenny Saville: rethinking
a feminist practice of
painting, in: Griselda Pollock (Ed.) Generations and Geographies in the
Visual Arts: Feminist readings,
pp. 88–107 (London, Routledge).
Russo, Mary (1994) The Female Grotesque: Risk, excess and modernity
Shildrick, Margrit (1997) Leaky Bodies and Boundaries: Feminism,
postmodernism and (bio)ethics (London,
Shildrick, Margrit (2002) Embodying the Monster: Encounters with the
vulnerable self (London, Sage).
Silverman, David (2003) Analysing talk and text, in: Norman Denzin &
Yvonna Lincoln (Eds) Collecting
and Interpreting Qualitative Materials, pp. 340–362 (London, Sage).
Sobal, Jeffrey (1999) The size acceptance movement and the social
construction of body weight, in:
Jeffrey Sobal & Donna Maurer (Eds) Weighty Issues: Fatness and thinness as
social problems, pp. 231–250
(New York, Aldine de Gruyter).
Stearns, P. N. (1997) Fat History: Bodies and beauty in the modern west
(New York and London, New York
Ussher, Jane (1989) The Psychology of the Female Body (London,
Williams, S. (2001) Emotions and Social Theory (London, Sage).
Zdrodowski, Dawn (1996) Eating out: the experience of eating in public for
Women’s Studies International Forum, 19(6), pp. 655–664.