Search:
Computing and Library Services - delivering an inspiring information environment

The medicalization of body size and women's healthcare

Wray, Sharon and Deery, Ruth (2008) The medicalization of body size and women's healthcare. Health Care for Women International, 29 (3). pp. 227-243. ISSN 0739-9332

Metadata only available from this repository.

Abstract

In this article we explore the issue of what it means to be "fat" for women in Western (British/North American) society. Contemporary gendered biomedical discourse currently dominates attitudes toward body shapes and sizes (Bordo, 1995). Further, under the rhetoric of "health," a large body size has come to be symbolic of self-indulgence and moral failure. In this article we argue this may lead women to question both their sense of self and their rights to adequate health care. Our aims are threefold: first, to challenge rigid hegemonic biomedical perspectives on "fatness" and the oppressive unequal power relations they may create; second, to examine the process by which such perspectives come to be the only legitimate discourse; third, to consider the impact of pathological medicalised definitions of "obesity" on women's perceptions of their bodies and experiences of health services

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
Uncontrolled Keywords: women's healthcare; body size; Western society
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Research in the Social Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Applied Childhood Studies
Related URLs:
References:

1. Baxter, J. (2000) Obesity surgery-another unmet need. British Medical Journal 321 , pp. 523-524.
2. Bender, R., Trautner, C., Spraul, M. and Berger, M. (1998) Assessment of excess mortality in obesity. American Journal of Epidemiology 147 , pp. 42-48.
3. Berg, F. M. (1999) Health risks associated with weight loss and obesity treatment programmes. Journal of Social Issues 55 , pp. 277-297.
4. Berger, G. (1999) Menopause and culture Pluto Press , London
5. Bordo, S. (1995) Unbearable weight: Feminism, Western culture, and the body University of California Press , Berkeley
6. Burns, M. and Gavey, N. (2004) "Healthy weight" at what cost: "Bulimia" and a discourse of weight control. Journal of Health Psychology 9 , pp. 549-565.
7. Calhoun, C. (Seidman, S. and Wagner, D. G. eds.) (1992) Culture, history, and the problem of specificity in social theory. Postmodernism and social theory Blackwell , Cambridge, MA
8. Carryer, J. (2001) Embodied largeness: a significant women's health issue. Nursing Inquiry 8 , pp. 90-97.
9. Chernin, K. (1983) Womansize: The tyranny of slenderness Women's Press , London
10. Cooper, C. (1998) Fat and proud: The politics of size The Women's Press , London
11. Department of Health (1993) Changing childbirth, Part 1 (Report of the Expert Maternity Group) Department of Health Publications, HMSO , London
12. Department of Health (2002) - Specialised Services National Definition Set: 35 Specialised morbid obesity services (all ages). 19 December 2002. http://www.dh.gov.uk/PublicationsAndstatistics/PressReleases
13. Department of Health (2004a) - Obesity a Priority for Government -Reid. 27 May 2004. http://www.dh.gov.uk/PublicationsAndstatistics/PressReleases
14. Department of Health (2004b) National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services. Department of Health Publications , London
15. Douglas, M. (1970) Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo Pelican , Landon
16. Dunea, G. (1995) The way we eat now. British Medical Journal 310 , p. 1075.
17. Duncan, M. (1994) The politics of women's body images and practices: Foucault, the panopticon, and Shape magazine. Journal of Sport and Social Issues 18 , pp. 48-65.
18. Ernsberger, P. and Koletsky, R. J. (1999) Biomedical rationale for a wellness approach to obesity: An alternative to a focus on weight loss. Journal of Social Issues 55 , pp. 221-276.
19. Ferriman, A. (1999) Fat is a medical issue. British Medical Journal 318 , p. 144.
20. Fleck, L. (1979) Genesis and development of a scientific fact University of Chicago Press , Chicago
21. Fleming, V. (Kirkham, M. ed.) (2000) The midwifery partnership in New Zealand: Past history or a new way forward?. The midwife-mother relationship pp. 193-205. McMillan Press , London
22. Fleming, V. E. M. (1998) Women-with-midwives-with-women: A model of interdependence. Midwifery 14 , pp. 137-143.
23. Foucault, M. (1977) Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison Penguin , London
24. Foucault, M. (1973) The birth of the clinic Routledge , London
25. Foucault, M. (1981) The history of sexuality, volume one Penguin , London
26. Foucault, M. (Gordon, C. ed.) (1980) Power/knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings Pantheon Books , New York
27. Gallant, M. H., Beaulieu, M. C. and Carnevale, F. A. (2002) Partnership: An analysis of the concept within the nurse-client relationship. Journal of Advanced Nursing 40 , pp. 149-157.
28. Greer, G. (1999) The whole woman Transworld Publishers , London
29. The Guardian newspaper (1999) - Fat camp opens its doors. 19 July
30. The Guardian newspaper (2006) - When healthy eating turns into a disease. 10 October
31. Haraway, D. (1991) Simians, cyborgs and women: The reinvention of nature Routledge , New York
32. Harding, S. (1986) The science question in feminism Open University Press , Milton Keynes, UK
33. Hesse-Biber, S. (1997) Am I thin enough yet? The cult of thinness and the commercialization of identity Oxford University Press , New York
34. Illich, I. (1976) Limits to medicine, medical nemesis: The expropriation of health Marion Publishers Limited , London
35. James, P. (2002) Facing the fats. Radio 4 Current Affairs Analysis Broadcast date August 8, 2002
36. Lean, M. E. J., Han, T. S. and Morrison, C. E. (1995) Waist circumference as a measure for indicating need for weight management. British Medical Journal 311 , pp. 158-161.
37. LeBlanc, R. G. (1997) Definitions of oppression. Nursing Inquiry 4 , pp. 257-261.
38. Lock, M. (1998) Anomalous ageing: Managing the postmenopausal body. Body and Society 4 , pp. 35-61.
39. Lorber, L. (Lupton, D. ed.) (1996) Believing is seeing: Biology as ideology. Food, the body and the self Sage , London
40. Lupton, G. (1996) Food, the Body & the Self Sage , London
41. Lupton, D. (2004) A grim health future: Food risks in the Sydney press. Health, Risk and Society 6 , pp. 187-200.
42. Lyotard, J. F. (Bennington, G. and Marsuni, B. eds.) (1984) The postmodern condition: A report on knowledge (G. Bennington and B. Marsuni, trans) Manchester University Press , Manchester, UK
43. Monaghan, L. F. (2005) Big handsome men, bears and others: Virtual constructions of "fat male embodiment.". Body & Society 11 , pp. 81-111.
44. Mulligan, J. and Voss, L. D. (1999) Identifying very fat and very thin children: Test of criterion standards for screening test. British Medical Journal 319 , pp. 1103-1104.
45. Orbach, S. (1978) Fat is a feminist issue Arrow Books Limited , London
46. Ramsey, J. E., Ferrell, W. R., Crawford, L., Wallace, M. A., Greer, I. A. and Sattar, N. (2002) Maternal obesity is associated with dysregulation of metabolic, vascular and inflammatory pathways. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 87 , pp. 4231-4237.
47. Riessman, C. K. (Weitz, R. ed.) (1998) Women and medicalization: A new perspective. The politics of women's bodies: Sexuality, appearance and behaviour Oxford University Press , Oxford, UK
48. Sawicki, J. (1991) Disciplining Foucault. Feminism, power and the body Routledge , London
49. Segal, L. (2003) Thinking like a man? The cultures of science. Women: A Cultural Review 14 , pp. 1-19.
50. Sobal, J. (Germov, J. and Williams, L. eds.) (1999) Sociological analysis of the stigmatisation of obesity. A sociology of food and nutrition: The social appetite Oxford University Press , New York
51. Sobal, J. and Stunkard, K. J. (1989) Socioeconomic status and obesity: A review of the literature. Psychological Bulletin 105 , pp. 260-275.
52. Sontag, S. (Carver, V. and Liddiard, P. eds.) (1978) The double standard of ageing. An ageing population Open University Press , Milton Keynes, UK
53. Turner, B. S. (Featherstone, M. ed.) (1996) The discourse of diet. The Body: Social Process and Cultural Theory Sage , London
54. Vireday, P. (2002) Are you a size friendly midwife?. Midwifery Today pp. 28-32. Spring
55. Wheatley, E. (2005) Disciplining bodies at risk: Cardiac rehabilitation and the medicalization of fitness. Journal of Sport & Social Issues 29 , pp. 198-221.
56. Wilding, J. (1997) Science, medicine and the future: Obesity treatment. British Medical Journal 315 , pp. 997-1000.
57. Williams, L. and Potter, J. (Germov, J. and Williams, L. eds.) (1999) "It's like they want to get fat": Social reconstruction of women's bodies during pregnancy. A sociology of food and nutrition: The social appetite Oxford University Press , New York
58. Witz, A. (2000) Whose body matters: Feminist sociology and the corporeal turn in sociology and feminism. Body and Society 6 , pp. 1-24.
59. Wolf, N. (1991) The beauty myth: How images of beauty are used against women Vintage , London
60. World Health Organization (1998) Obesity: Preventing and managing the global epidemic World Health Organization , Geneva
61. Wray, S. (2007) Women making sense of midlife: ethnic and cultural diversity. Journal of Aging Studies 21 , pp. 31-42.

Depositing User: Sara Taylor
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2008 14:42
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2011 15:10
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/619

Item control for Repository Staff only:

View Item

University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH Copyright and Disclaimer All rights reserved ©