Tracing a matrix of gender: an analysis of the feminine in hospital-based treatment for eating disorders
Malson, H. and Ryan, V. (2008) Tracing a matrix of gender: an analysis of the feminine in hospital-based treatment for eating disorders. Feminism and Psychology, 18 (1). pp. 112-132. ISSN 0959 3535
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959353507084955
Numerous studies have elucidated how a multiplicity of contemporary western cultural ideas and values that constitute `normal' femininity are enmeshed in and central to the discursive production and regulation of girls' and women's 'eating disordered' subjectivities, bodies and body management practices. In this article, we seek to build on that work by exploring how discursive constructions of 'the feminine' are articulated in nurses' accounts of nursing in-patients diagnosed with 'eating disorders'. We have used a feminist post-structuralist, discourse analytic, interview-based methodology to explore how gender and gender power-relations are articulated not only in constructions of 'eating disorders' and of those diagnosed as 'eating disordered', but also in constructions of nurses and their relationships with (and to) patients. Our analysis illustrates how 'the feminine' persistently appears and reappears as a multiplicity of binarized gendered subject positions that constitute, delimit and regulate 'pathology', patients and nurses, suturing nurses and patients into a matrix of dichotomously structured femininities and a complex circulation of gender power-relations.