Feminist Figure Girl: Look Hot While You Fight the Patriarchy

Feminist Figure Girl: Look Hot While You Fight the Patriarchy

by Lianne McTavish


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Analyzes the author’s transformation from academic to figure competitor.

Feminist Figure Girl chronicles the transformation of art history professor Lianne McTavish, from a university professor into an extraordinarily tanned and crystal-encrusted bikini-wearing “figure girl.”Figure competitions seek a softer appearance than traditional forms of bodybuilding but still require rigorous weightlifting, an extreme protein diet, and many hours of posing in high heels. While training for a figure show, McTavish combined autoethnographic methods, participant observation, and feminist theory to find new ways of thinking about physique culture and the female body.

The author, who specializes in critical visual culture and the history of the body, explores such contemporary issues as body image, fat studies, identity politics, and “postfeminism,” while rethinking fitness culture, diet regimes, feminist politics, reproductive activism, performance art, and the social function of photography. Written in a lively personal style reminiscent of McTavish’s popular blog, she clearly explains the complex ideas stemming from the theoretical work of such writers as Judith Butler, Simone de Beauvoir, Michel Foucault, Iris Marion Young, Edmund Husserl, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. The book also includes many photos documenting McTavish’s physical transformation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781438454764
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 02/01/2015
Pages: 218
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Lianne McTavish is Professor of the History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture at the University of Alberta. She is the author of Defining the Modern Museum: A Case Study of the Challenges of Exchange and Childbirth and Childbirth and the Display of Authority in Early Modern France.

Table of Contents

List of Images

Introduction: Becoming Feminist Figure Girl

1. Measuring Up: Comparing Bodybuilding, Weight Watchers, and Yoga

2. Embodiment and the Event of Muscle Failure

3. Replacing Feminism: Comparing Prochoice Activism with Becoming a Figure Girl

4. On Stage: Performing Feminist Figure Girl

5. Aftermath: The Photographs in My Purse


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