Understanding Anorexia at the Crossroads of Phenomenology and Feminism

Abstract : This study argues against a strictly medical approach to anorexia that takes there to be a genesis of eating disorders which takes psychiatry as its frame of reference. Instead, it shifts the focus away from a person’s symptoms and toward what her relationship to others and her body can reveal about her food deprivation. By emphasizing the contributions of phenomenology, which takes this expression of painful orality [oralité douleureuse] to be a way of being -with -the -world -and-others rather than a pathology, and using Kafka’s “The Hunger Artist,” I show that anorexia is not merely or essentially linked to the socially imposed ideal of slimness; it is rather a battle for autonomy. At its backdrop is the mind-body dualism characteristic of modern contemporary rationalism as its backdrop, which refers to representations that are social and not just individual. It remains to be seen why the majority of anorexic people are women, which has been the case since the Middle Ages. This is a problem that a feminist approach to anorexia allows us to clarify. Simply to insist on the force of social roles is not enough to explain why today’s women abide by the norms of thinness; we must analyze the form that women’s self-expression takes within the contexts that make autonomy such a difficult ideal for them to realize.
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Contributor : Corine Pelluchon <>
Submitted on : Friday, November 18, 2016 - 5:37:22 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-01399400, version 1



Corine Pelluchon. Understanding Anorexia at the Crossroads of Phenomenology and Feminism. Routledge. The Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics, Routledge, pp.82-90, 2016, The Routledge HAndbook of Food Ethics, 9781315745503. ⟨hal-01399400⟩



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