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Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 11, Issue 1, Summer 2004

Feminist Apporoaches to the Body

Emily Caroline Martin-Hondros
Pages 19-26
DOI: 10.5840/pcw20041113

Anorexia Nervosa
The Illusion of Power, Perfection, and Purity

In this paper anorexia nervosa is examined through three lenses to determine its possible causes. This paper contains a clinical analysis of the anorexic personality, a psychoanalytic/religious interpretation of the demands of society, and· a feminist reinterpretation of the effects of those demands on the female body. The societal demands to renounce instincts, when examined through a feminist lens, reveals that these demands, in concert with the detrimental effects of feminine socialization and characteristics of the anorexic personality, may lead some women to view their needs as not important, and cause a detachment from and turning against the body in the form of anorexia nervosa. It is concluded that anorexia is not just women taking a diet “too far.” There are other psychological, philosophical, and social factors leading to a prevalence of anorexia nervosa in Western culture.