The Spirituality of Anorexia

: Towards Healing and Liberation of the Goddess in Every Woman

  • Emma White

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

The following body of work is concerned with the female body in contemporary society, specifically the development of anorexia nervosa, and what this expression communicates about female embodiment. Drawing upon the work of a variety of theorists, social commentators, liberation theologians and thealogians I argue that anorexia develops as a consequence of living in a patriarchal society that creates a disjunction between women and their bodies. The consequence of this destructive rhetoric has kept women disempowered, disembodied and disconnected from a strong and powerful feminine heritage.
My contribution to originality is the postulation that Goddess feminism can provide the framework- through its myths, symbols and rituals- for a female empowering and healing therapeutic model to address anorexia and more broadly, the slender ideal touted by society. I suggest that if enough women engaged with Goddess feminism, a shift would take place within society, as our patriarchal heritage would be balanced by female empowering rhetoric, addressing the gender inequalities that still permeate society. I discuss the adoption of female focused myths, symbols and rituals, drawing upon the work of Marion Woodman and Naomi Goldenberg, to theorise on a thealogical approach to anorexia aimed at displacing the damaging discourses that underlie female disembodiment in the twenty-first century. The Spirituality of Anorexia: Towards Healing and Liberation of the Goddess in Every Woman utilises the principles inherent to Goddess feminism to displace anorexia and the slender performance as we work towards constructing alternative models of embodiment for women within society today.
Date of Award15 May 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Winchester
SupervisorLisa Isherwood (Supervisor) & Janet Wootten (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • anorexia
  • spirituality
  • women
  • healing
  • liberation
  • ritual
  • goddess

Cite this

The Spirituality of Anorexia: Towards Healing and Liberation of the Goddess in Every Woman
White, E. (Author). 15 May 2017

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis