Body and Capital: Underprivileged Women's Relation with Health and Obesity

Title: Body and Capital: Underprivileged Women's Relation with Health and Obesity
Authors: Robitaille, Jeanne
Date: 2012
Abstract: Drawing from Pierre Bourdieu’s socio-cultural approach, this qualitative research project aimed to: (a) understand the responses to current body norms and expectations tied to health and physical appearances amongst underprivileged young women; and; (b) understand to what extent the dominant obesity discourse is inscribed in these women’s bodily habits. Results highlight that participants were aware of the dominant obesity discourse through their perceptions, sentiments, and dispositions towards bodily norms and expectations. Despite their awareness, underprivileged living conditions generated other sets of priorities, such as motherhood, achieving economic stability, completing education, and gaining physical independence which were far greater preoccupations. Underprivileged young women’s ‘choice of the necessary’ is based on optimizing resources and prioritizing needs and responsibilities. Findings support the use of Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts which consider the effects of various aspects of underprivileged living conditions on lifestyles.
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