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Clinical, cultural and personal dimensions of fashion modelling as a basis for phenomenological and depth psychological exploration of femininity in Western societies

Giotta, Adriana (2021) Clinical, cultural and personal dimensions of fashion modelling as a basis for phenomenological and depth psychological exploration of femininity in Western societies. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This study investigates the lived experiences of female international fashion models, a shortcoming within extant literature. An interdisciplinary, pluralistic approach was embraced. Using clinical vignettes, an autoethnographic account and an interpretative phenomenological analysis of qualitative interviews of a group of fashion models, this study overturns the idealised image of the fashion model life within the collective consciousness and shows the embodiment and personality of female fashion models to be socially constructed within a field wherein several forces, illuminated herein, are at play. Intrapsychic forces, interpersonal dynamics and the role of transgenerational trauma are also illuminated. The results show the embodied lived experiences of female fashion models and their performances to epitomise metaphors for the predicaments faced by many females in contemporary Western societies. A hegemonic, normative ideal, that compresses all feminine qualities into an impossible composite icon, is pursued. A specific persona holding the characteristics of the puella is culturally offered, through media dissemination of models’ imagery, as the ultimate signifier of high status and feminine ideal, leaving women with limited external reference to the multiple feminine attributes and roles necessary to express themselves fully and to respond to life situations effectively. The research findings also confirm that subjective embodiment contains relevant information about individuals’ challenges, intersubjective dynamics, collective shared experiences and vicissitudes, precious for advances within multiple academic disciplines. According to the researcher, conscious fashion models, engaged on a journey of individuation, supported by an ethical industry and by their striking socialising power, could embody inspirational role models of wholeness, authenticity, interconnectedness and diverse feminine qualities for the larger population.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Adriana Giotta
Date Deposited: 17 May 2021 09:28
Last Modified: 17 May 2021 09:28
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30359

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