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The Paradoxical Feminine - Eating Disorders Beyond Gender

Chalhoub Mallat, Nayla (2016) The Paradoxical Feminine - Eating Disorders Beyond Gender. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This thesis distils from a mass of research the patterns of expressions and etiological factors in eating disorders. Drawing on a diversity of research fields - epidemiology, historical accounts, femininity theories, clinical and social psychology, neuroscience, and object relations models -, I have found that intrusion, as the overwhelming experience of invasion of receptivity in the primal mother-child dyad, is the fundamental psychological factor in the etiology of eating disorders and that this factor transcends gender. Through articulating what I have coined the male ‘homosexual exception’ in disorders that mostly affect women, I have shown that both men and women are susceptible to eating disorders in proportion to their vulnerability to fears of intrusion into receptivity. To arrive at this conclusion, I have made use of, and transcended, stereotypes of gender through which eating disorders have been seen to be essentially diseases of the female, in connection with female receptive anatomy and development, and their increase among males, in particular homosexual males, has been either overlooked or a mystery. In helping refine the intrusion thesis beyond a notion of receptivity exclusively linked to female anatomy, my interpretation of the particular vulnerability of women and of a subgroup of male homosexuals to eating disorders has allowed transcending stereotypes of sexual orientation from which my study originated.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Nayla Chalhoub-Mallat
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2016 16:14
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2016 16:14
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/18361

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