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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