‘I just want to be me again!’: identity, gender, media transformations and the ageing female body

Olinger, Martine (2011) ‘I just want to be me again!’: identity, gender, media transformations and the ageing female body. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Over the last couple of years, there has been a proliferation of media texts which focus on transformation. This study analyses the media transformation of the ageing female body in two makeover TV programmes. Firstly, the dissertation will establish key theories in addressing the identity formation process in contemporary Western culture, focussing on female identity and its formation as a specific focus of attention. The study then suggests that the human body can be understood as a blank canvas upon which cultural meaning is "written". The body, it is claimed by critical theorists, is highly significant in the construction of an individual's self-identity, and to the ways in which identities are perceived in society. The thesis outlines the terms of analysis for a specific case study in identity formation and cultural construction of the ageing female body. This demonstrates that there is a powerful gender-specific dimension to ageing since it is the female body that is ideologically not tolerable to society, as it does not conform to the prevailing beauty image that is propagated by the media, making women who deviate from the norm – even if naturally - appear as a failure. A case study of 10 Years Younger (Channel 4, 2004 - present) and How to Look Good Naked (Channel 4, 2006 - 2010) applies the theoretical contexts in question to determine how media forms use specific narratives of transformation to produce their ideological meanings. The dissertation concludes that makeover TV programmes promote the view that there is an "authentic" self, and that through rejuvenation and the eradication of body flaws, individuals are able to find their "real" self. This runs against contemporary identity theorists who have concluded that within advanced consumer capitalism "the self" is a consoling fiction that conceals the loss of authentic personhood.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2012 11:54
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:58
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/7014

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