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Sculpting the Woman

Muscularity, Power and the Problem with Femininity


Jamilla Rosdahl

What is femininity?

Why does the idea of femininity not seem to «fit» with muscular women?

Why are muscular women the object of such controversy and skepticism?

Why do some women build muscle despite these strong cultural reactions?

Muscular women have long been the focus of public scrutiny, cultural contempt and fascination. Sculpting the Woman interrogates the protected status of femininity as it has been rendered irrelevant to the history, theory and politics of the muscular woman. This highly original and provocative work draws on important social thinkers including Michel Foucault and Judith Butler as well as recent theoretical developments on gender, identity and the body in poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, various feminisms and social and moral philosophy. This book offers a personal insight into one of the most threatening of cultural identities: the «muscular female». Through its analysis of femininity’s complex relationship with muscularity, it explores the larger question: «What is a woman?»

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Series Editor

Bee Scherer, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK

Queering Paradigms is a series of peer-reviewed edited volumes and monographs presenting challenging and innovative developments in Queer Theory and Queer Studies from across a variety of academic disciplines and political spheres. Queer in this context is understood as a critical disposition towards the predominantly binarist and essentialising social, intellectual, political, and cultural paradigms through which we understand gender, sexuality, and identity. Queering denotes challenging and transforming not just heteronormativity, but homonormativity as well, and pushing past the binary axes of homo- and hetero-sexuality. In line with the broad inter- and trans-disciplinary ethos of queer projects generally, the series welcomes contributions from both established and aspiring researchers in diverse fields of studies including political and social science, philosophy, history, religious studies, literary criticism, media studies, education, psychology, health studies, criminology, and legal studies. The series is committed to advancing perspectives from outside of the ‘Global North’. Further, it will publish research that explicitly links queer insights to specific and local political struggles, which might serve to encourage the uptake of queer insights in similar contexts. By cutting across disciplinary, geographic, and cultural boundaries in this way, the series provides a unique contribution to queer theory.

Published volumes

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