A critical exploration of lesbian perspectives on eating disorders
Jones, R. and Malson, H. (2011) A critical exploration of lesbian perspectives on eating disorders. Psychology and Sexuality, 4 (1). ISSN 1941-9899
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19419899.2011.603349
There is now a considerable body of research exploring how culturally dominant gendered norms are implicated in mobilising girls’ and women’s ‘anorexic’ and ‘bulimic’ experiences and practices. However, much less is known about lesbian experiences of ‘eating disorders’. This article explores some of those specificities. Drawing on interviews with self-identified lesbian women with a history of ‘anorexia’ and/or ‘bulimia’, our analysis suggests that while many of the ways in which participants discursively constituted their ‘eating disorders’ were similar to those identified in research with girls and women assumed to be heterosexual, there were also important differences where participants’ actual or emerging lesbian subjectivities were integral to their accounts of developing, living with and recovering from ‘anorexia’ and/or ‘bulimia’. Our analysis suggest that the processes of coming to recognise oneself as a lesbian and of ‘coming out’ to others in predominantly heteronormative contexts may be profoundly implicated in the discursive production of lesbian women’s ‘eating disorders’ and that further research is required to better understand lesbian perspectives on ‘eating disorders’.
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