(Re)constructing body shaming: Popular media representations of female identities as discursive identity construction

Roodt, Kyra (2015-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The study takes an analytical approach to discourse in its focus on the discursive realisation and (re)production of ideology in terms of the (re)construction of a singular female identity as portrayed by the media – specifically content generated by the online news and entertainment website, BuzzFeed. Data was collected electronically over a period of fifteen months (January 2014 to May 2015) and subjected to a keyword search, which then determined the most relevant articles. These articles were entered into two separate corpora for analysis in order to identify the most significant ideologies related to body shaming, and broken down linguistically through the use of Wordsmith Tools. The analysis of the data mainly drew upon the theories of Bakhtin’s conceptualisation of dialogic (2004), Gee’s building tasks of language (2014), van Dijk’s analytical toolkit (1984), (1990) and Kress’ notion of the formation of ideology (1989). The aim of this thesis was to investigate the (re)production of ideology surrounding traditional beauty ideals as being a singular concept in order to reveal the more complex identities of women as unique individuals. The study’s findings indicate that there is a significant correlation between female empowerment in terms of associating with feminist ideals and female misogyny as one of the main sources of body shaming, with female misogyny outranking feminism with only 4,94%. Furthermore, the study revealed that overall appearance was the most commonly discussed topic throughout the corpus, being mentioned in a total of 93,83% of articles, with the face and hair of women being most frequently discussed in 23,46% of articles. Overall appearance was also the topic most commonly shamed in the corpus, closely followed by fashion, body shape and fitness.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die studie maak gebruik van ‘n analitiese benadering tot diskoers gerig op aspekte van taalwetenskap wat ‘n rol speel in die realisasie van idees in terme van die rekonstruksie van ‘n singulêre vroulike identiteit soos voorgeskryf deur die media – veral in die geval van inhoud gegenereer deur die aanlyn nuus en vermaakwebblad, BuzzFeed. Data was elektronies ingesamel oor ‘n periode van vyftien maande (vanaf Januarie 2014 tot Mei 2015) en onderwerp aan ‘n sleutelwoord soektog, wat dan die mees relevante artikels kon identifiseer. Hierdie artikels was toe in twee aparte corpora ingeskryf vir analise, ten einde van die identifikasie van ideologieë mees relevant tot die konsep van liggaambeskaming. Die data was ook taalkundig afgebreek deur die gebruik van Wordsmith Tools. Die analise van die data is hoofsaaklik gegrond op die teorieë van Bakhtin se konseptualisasie van dialogie (2004), Gee se boutake van taal (2014), van Dijk se metodologiese analise (1984), (1990) en Kress se teorie oor hoe ideologiese raamwerke gevorm word (1989). Die doel van hierdie tesis was die ondersoek in terme van die reproduksie van sekere ideologieë rondom tradisionele ideale van skoonheid as ‘n enkelvoudige konsep om meer te openbaar oor die komplekse identiteite van vroue as unieke individue. Die navorsing dui op ‘n beduidende korrelasie tussen die bemagtiging van vroue in terme van die assosiasie met feministiese ideale en vroue haat deur ander vroue as een van die hoofbronne van liggaambeskaaming, met vroue haat deur ander vroue geidentifiseer as die ideologie wat die meeste voorkom in die korpus, net 4,94% meer as feminisme. Verder onthul die studie dat algehele voorkoms die mees algemeen bespreekte onderwerp was, genoem in ‘n totaal van 93,83% van artikels, met die gesig en hare van vroue mees algemeen bespreek in 23,46% van artikels. Algehele voorkoms was ook die onderwerp wat mees algemeen verneder was, gevolg deur mode, liggaamsvorm en fiksheid.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98137
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