A Discursive Analysis of extracts regarding a male(TM)s perception of body image

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A Discursive Analysis of extracts regarding a male’s perception of body image

This analysis looks at four young men’s perceptions of female body image through the use of discursive analysis. This interview looks at what the participating males think about different body sizes and how important a women’s body size and appearance is to them. Discursive analysis is a qualitative method used to analyse data and is used to comprehend spoken interaction and written text which views language as something that constructs reality rather than simply describing it.

Extract 1.

1     Cli: but (2.0) m:m its mainly the face that I think its wha-           2         (0.5) you find mos[t attractive

3        Jef:                  [m:::m

4        Int: yeah=

5        Jef: =but the more slight girls I think I find more beautiful    

6            (0.5)

7        Cli: m:::m but

8        Jef: but maybe it’s the slightly bigger ones that you find a

9             bit more .hhh fit=

10        Uri: they just look like they’ve got right angles

11             in ◦their body◦ (2.0)

11        Zan: hehe[hehe

12        Uri:     [hehehe (0.5)

13        Jef: its horrible

14        Uri: I kno(h)w (1.0)

15        Int: what can you just state which model that is

16        Jef: models er D again (0.5) like he-her armpit and her

17             shoulder and everything is horr(h)ible

18        Cli: it just [>looks so:: skinny<

19        Jef:         [its like a skeleton (.) literally like a skeleton

20             (2.0)

Cli draws attention away from the idea of body perception (line 1) by stated that the face is what is most “attractive” in a girl which suggests that a woman’s body size is not the only important factor in the perceptive attractiveness of a female. Cli’s speech is overlapped by Jef (line 3) who utters “m:::m” which appears to suggest that he is agreeing with Cli’s view but then uses the discourse marker “but” (line 5) in order to state that allow he may he agree with Cli’s view but it is used to also express his own opinion in which he says he finds “more slight girls” “more beautiful.”  Although he then goes on to say (line 8) it’s “slightly bigger girls” that he finds more “fit” showing that different body shapes can be attractive in different ways.  The use of “.hhh” (line 9) before using the word “fit” suggests that the inhalation was used as the correct word was picked.  Uri after making a statement that larger girls have “right angles” then goes on to finish the sentence with “in their body” (line 11) said quietly which could suggest that this was due to embarrassment or it perhaps being a controversial thing to say which is supported by the laughter of Zan and Uri (line 12 - 13).   Jef talks in a list of three (lines 17 -18) when describing what he doesn’t like about the model. The list of 3 is a powerful listing technique often used in a person’s speech (Jefferson 1991) and helps to emphasis what Jef doesn’t like as it one thing after another ending in “everything” which is shows how strongly he does not like the image.  The dislike at how skinny picture D is, is also shown by Cli (line 18): “so:: skinny” the use of “so” is an extreme case formulation which strengthens the negative argument of how skinny the girl is.  Jef uses repetition of the word “skeleton” to emphasise how shocking and unattractive he finds the girls body size. Skeleton has a lot of negative connotations as it is associated with eating disorders if a person is skeletal.  The negative view of a girl being too skinny can be seen in the next extract as well as a conflicting view of what is too skinny.

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Extract 5.

1        Cli: picture B is where Richie looks her most unhealthy like you can             2             see her ribcage [it (1.0) looks rank

3        Uri:                          [she l[ooks like skeletal yeah

4        Jef:                                [◦ definitely B◦

5        Zan: its definitely B like she looks like a really like perfect (.)                                     ...

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