UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"Ideal", "deviant", female : "sea-changed" and "impossible" femininities in the contemporary moment Muir, Jennifer


In this thesis project I explore economically disadvantaged young women's responses to notions of ideal and deviant femininity circulating within contemporary mass media. Specifically, I examine six young women's expressed accounts and critiques of particular forms of femininity in relation to their own experiences of social exclusion. Additionally, and drawing upon an experimental adaptation of Walter Benjamin's montage method, I assess the symbolic links between mass media representations of femininity and exclusion along classed and gendered lines. I use this adaptation of Benjamin's technique to historicize and contextualize dominant notions of ideal (deviant) femininity circulating in the contemporary moment and to engage in a "reflexive" (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992) analysis of my own entanglement with the norms and values which proliferate within mass media. The foundational thinking which directs my aims throughout this thesis explores the analytical possibilities of joining the complementary theoretical work of Hannah Arendt and Pierre Bourdieu within an interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological framework.

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