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A critical exploration of lesbian perspectives on eating disorders

Jones, Rebecca; Malson, Helen


Rebecca Jones

Helen Malson
Associate Professor in Social Psychology


There is now a considerable body of research exploring how culturally dominant gendered norms are implicated in mobilising girls' and women's 'anorexic' and 'bulimic' experiences and practices. However, much less is known about lesbian experiences of 'eating disorders'. This article explores some of those specificities. Drawing on interviews with self-identified lesbian women with a history of 'anorexia' and/or 'bulimia', our analysis suggests that while many of the ways in which participants discursively constituted their 'eating disorders' were similar to those identified in research with girls and women assumed to be heterosexual, there were also important differences where participants' actual or emerging lesbian subjectivities were integral to their accounts of developing, living with and recovering from 'anorexia' and/or 'bulimia'. Our analysis suggests that the processes of coming to recognise oneself as a lesbian and of 'coming out' to others in predominantly hetero-normative contexts may be profoundly implicated in the discursive production of lesbian women's 'eating disorders' and that further research is required to better understand lesbian perspectives on 'eating disorders'. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Jones, R., & Malson, H. (2013). A critical exploration of lesbian perspectives on eating disorders. Psychology and Sexuality, 4(1), 62-74.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2013
Deposit Date Sep 13, 2011
Journal Psychology and Sexuality
Print ISSN 1941-9899
Electronic ISSN 1941-9902
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 1
Pages 62-74
Keywords eating disorders, lesbian perspectives, discourse, qualitative research, body image
Public URL
Publisher URL


lesbians'_eating_disorders_psy_and_sex_revised_27_06_11.doc (118 Kb)

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