Jamie Khoo


How are women more than their bodies? Contemporary constructions of feminine beauty and body image

After completing my BA and MA with the Department of English Literature at York, I worked for more than 10 years in English print media in Malaysia, writing for publications such as Time Out KL and Elle Malaysia. I have also written for online journals/ blogs such as Huffington Post Blogs UK, elephant journal and my own website, a beauty full mind. Having written my MA dissertation on the influences of magazines and advertisers on the identities of women in the 1920s, I was especially intrigued by how beauty standards are still being played out in mainstream media and affecting women's body image today.

My research studies how women construct knowledge and meaning around feminine beauty and body image, particularly in the light of recent online campaigns and websites which seek to resist mainstream beauty standards. First, I am doing a close analysis of the online video project, The What's Underneath Project and how an alternative definition of beauty and style is presented. The second part of my PhD examines how women 'do beauty' in the way they narrate (in group conversations or individual interviews) their lives, relate experiences and talk to each other about body image, beauty ideals and practices, and dress. By this, I wish to explore how we can resist or even change harmful dominant discourses around feminine beauty, and eventually, hopefully, draw the long-standing focus away from women's bodies and onto the many other affective, cultural, social, historical and subjective experiences that make up who they are.

Last Updated: February 2, 2017 | hb14@york.ac.uk

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