Between feminism and anorexia: An autoethnography

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Critical feminist work on eating disorders has grown substantially since its establishment in the 1980s, and has increasingly incorporated the use of anorexic stories, voices and experiences. Yet rarely do such accounts offer the anorexic a space to respond to the now established feminist conceptions of the problem which structure the books or articles in which they appear. Anorexic, or recovered anorexic, voices are used by the researcher to interpret the role played by gender, even whilst the subjects are invited to respond to and critique, medical and popular discourses on the disorder. This lack of dialogue is all the more striking in the context of the feminist aim to fight ‘back against the tendency to silence anorexic women’s’ own interpretations of their starving, treatment and construction (Saukko, 2008: 34). As someone who suffered from anorexia for 20 years, this article offers an autoethnographic account of my experience of encountering the feminist literature on anorexia in a bid to speak back, or enter into a dialogue between feminist politics and eating disorder experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-207
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number2
Early online date21 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Anorexia
  • feminism
  • autoethnography
  • sexuality
  • subjectivity
  • Starvation

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