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Adolescent Girls’ Body-Narratives: Learning to Desire and Create a "Fashionable" Image


by Kimberly L. Oliver — 1999

This critical narrative inquiry took place in an inner city middle school in the southeast part of the country. The purpose of the study was to explore how four adolescent girls constructed the meanings of their bodies. Of interest were the stories girls told about their bodies, and how their stories, and cultural storylines and images of women, could empower and disempower girls in the process of becoming healthy women. The girls and I met 50 minutes twice a week for 15 weeks during their health and physical education class. Data collection techniques included 25 audiotaped and transcribed group discussions, journal writing, freewriting, written stories, and more. These girls were learning, through fashion, to desire and create a normalized image of the perfect woman. Fashion was a heuristic as they constructed the meanings of their bodies.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 101 Number 2, 1999, p. 220-246
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10439, Date Accessed: 10/23/2017 11:22:54 AM

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About the Author
  • Kimberly Oliver
    University of Alabama
    E-mail Author
    Kimberly L. Oliver is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Performance Studies in the College of Education at the University of Alabama. Her research interests include adolescent girls’ development as related to health, gender and cultural issues of the body, and democratic inquiry. Among her recent publications is “A journey into narrative analysis: A methodology for discovering meanings.” (Journal of Teaching in Physical Education).
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