Advertisement

Feminist Issues

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 3–24 | Cite as

Jane Fonda, Barbara Bush and other aging bodies: Femininity and the limits of resistance

  • Myra Dinnerstein
  • Rose Weitz
Articles

Abstract

This article uses the self-representations of Jane Fonda and Barbara Bush to assess their two different approaches to aging and to explore the degree to which women are able to resist the prevailing cultural discourse which equates femininity with a youthful appearance. While Barbara Bush uses the rhetoric of “naturalness,” implying that she makes little effort with her appearance, Fonda emphasizes the work she puts into maintaining a fit body. Both frame their self-descriptions as resistance to cultural standards, but an exploration of their efforts reveals serious limits to this resistance. The conclusions discuss the possibilities for women to resist or change cultural dictates regarding the aging female body. Data come from all articles on Fonda and Bush published in women’s magazines since 1977.

Keywords

Eating Disorder Feminist Issue White Hair Cultural Construction Bodily Control 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adams, Cindy. 1988. “Talking with the New First Lady.”Ladies Home Journal, October.Google Scholar
  2. Andersen, Christopher. 1990.Citizen Jane. New York: Henry Holt.Google Scholar
  3. Andersen, Christopher P. 1989. “Jane Fonda: I’m Stronger Than Ever.”Ladies Home Journal, October.Google Scholar
  4. Avery, Caryl S. 1989. “How Good Should You Look?”Ladies Home Journal, June.Google Scholar
  5. Bachrach, Judy. 1989. “Feel the Burn.”Savvy Woman, October.Google Scholar
  6. Ball, Aimee Lee. 1992. “How Does Jane Do It?”McCall’s, March.Google Scholar
  7. Ballaster, Ros, Margaret Beetham, Elizabeth Frazer and Sandra Hebron. 1991.Women’s Worlds: Ideology, Femininity and the Woman’s Magazine. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  8. Banner, Lois W. 1983.American Beauty. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  9. Bartky, Sandra Lee. 1988. “Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power.” InFeminism and Foucault, ed. Irene Diamond and Lee Quinby, 61–86. Boston: Northeastern University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bordo, Susan. 1989. “The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity: A Feminist Appropriation of Foucault.” InGender/Body/Knowledge, ed. Alison M. Jaggar and Susan R. Bordo, 13–33. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  11. _____. 1990. “Reading the Slender Body.” InBody/Politics: Women and the Discourses of Science, ed. Mary Jacobus, Evelyn Fox Keller, and Sally Shuttleworth, 83–112. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. _____. 1991. “‘Material Girl’: The Effacements of Postmodern Culture.” InThe Female Body, ed. Laurence Goldstein, 653–677. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  13. Brand, Pamela A., Esther D. Rothblum and Laura J. Solomon. 1992. “A Comparison of Lesbians, Gay Men, and Heterosexuals on Weight and Restrained Eating.”International Journal of Eating Disorders 11(3):253–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brown, Laura S. 1987. “Lesbians, Weight, and Eating: New Analyses and Perspectives.” InLesbian Psychologies: Explorations and Challenges, eds. Boston Lesbian Psychologies Collective, 294–310. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  15. Brownell, Kelly D. 1988. “Yo-Yo Dieting.”Psychology Today 22 (January):20–23.Google Scholar
  16. _____. 1991. “Personal Responsibility and Control Over Our Bodies.”Health Psychology 10(5):303–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. _____. and Thomas A. Wadden. 1992. “Etiology and Treatment of Obesity: Understanding a Serious, Prevalent, and Refractory Disorder.”Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 60(4): 505–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Busby, Linda. 1975. “Sex-Role Research on the Mass Media.”Journal of Communication 25(4):107–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Carey, James W. 1989.Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society. Boston: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
  20. Carlucci, Daniel, Harvey Goldfine, Ann Ward, Pamela Taylor and James Rippe. 1991. “Exercise: Not Just for the Healthy.”The Physician and Sports Medicine 19(7):46–56.Google Scholar
  21. Chernin, Kim. 1981.The Obsession: Reflections on the Tyranny of Slenderness. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  22. Conrad, Peter. 1987. “The Experience of Illness: Recent and New Directions.”Research in the Sociology of Health Care 6:1–31.Google Scholar
  23. Cook, Alison. 1990. “At Home with Barbara Bush.”Ladies Home Journal, March.Google Scholar
  24. Coser, Rose Loeb. 1960. “Laughter Among Colleagues.”Psychiatry 23:81–95.Google Scholar
  25. Crawford, Robert. 1979. “Individual Responsibility and Health Politics.” InHealth Care in America: Essays in Social History, ed. Susan Reverby and David Rosner, 247–268. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Davis, Sally Ogle. 1993. “Hollywood Marriages: The Good, The Bad and The Disasters.”Ladies Home Journal, March.Google Scholar
  27. _____. 1990. “Jane Fonda Bounces Back.”Cosmopolitan, January.Google Scholar
  28. Doress, Paula Brown and Diana Laskin Siegal. 1987.Ourselves, Growing Older. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  29. Dulloo, Abdul G. and Lucien Girardier. 1990. “Adaptive Changes in Energy Expenditure During Refeeding Following Low-Calorie Intake: Evidence for a Specific Metabolic Component Favoring Fat Storage.”American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 52:415–420.Google Scholar
  30. Dworkin, Sari H. 1989. “Not in Man’s Image: Lesbians and the Cultural Oppression of Body Image.”Women and Therapy 8(1–2): 27–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Farr, Louise. 1980. “Jane Fonda.”Ladies Home Journal, April.Google Scholar
  32. Faludi, Susan. 1991.Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. New York: Crown.Google Scholar
  33. Ferguson, Marjorie. 1983.Forever Feminine: Women’s Magazines and the Cult of Femininity. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  34. Fine, Gary Alan. 1983. “Sociological Approaches to the Study of Humor.” InHandbook of Humor Research, Vol. 1, ed. Paul E. McGhee and Jeffrey H. Goldstein, 138–157. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  35. Fonda, Jane. 1984.Women Coming of Age. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  36. _____. 1986.Jane Fonda’s Workout Book. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  37. Foucault, Michel. 1979.Discipline and Punish. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  38. Freedman, Rita. 1986.Beauty Bound. New York: D. C. Heath and Company.Google Scholar
  39. Glasser, Dorothy Ann and Stephen Decatur. 1982. “Jane Fonda.”Ladies Home Journal, February.Google Scholar
  40. Gledhill, Christine. 1988. “Pleasurable Negotiations.” InFemale Spectators: Looking at Film and Television, ed. E. Deidre Pribram, 64–79. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  41. Goffman, Erving. 1963.Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  42. Good Housekeeping. 1993. “I Was a Yo-Yo Dieter.” February.Google Scholar
  43. Haig, Robin A. 1988.Anatomy of Humor. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.Google Scholar
  44. Hall, Stuart. 1980. “Encoding/Decoding.” InCulture, Media, Language, ed. Stuart Hall and the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, 128–138. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  45. Harper’s Bazaar. 1980. “The California Workout.” January.Google Scholar
  46. Harrison, Barbara Grizzuti. 1978. “Jane Fonda: Trying to Be Everywoman.”Ladies Home Journal, April.Google Scholar
  47. Hirschmann, Jane R. and Carol H. Munter. 1988.Overcoming Overeating. New York: Ballantine.Google Scholar
  48. Hsu, George. 1987. “Are Eating Disorders Becoming More Common in Blacks?”International Journal of Eating Disorders 6(January):113–124.Google Scholar
  49. Jong, Erica. 1984. “Jane Fonda.”Ladies Home Journal, April.Google Scholar
  50. Kano, Susan. 1989.Making Peace with Food. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  51. Kaplan, Janice. 1985. “Fonda On: Fit After Forty.”Vogue, February.Google Scholar
  52. _____. 1987. “The Fitness Queen.”Vogue, November.Google Scholar
  53. Kaufman, Pamela. 1992. “Rethinking Diets.”Vogue, March.Google Scholar
  54. Kerns, Virginia and Judith K. Brown (editors). 1992.In Her Prime: New Views of Middle-Aged Women. 2nd. ed. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  55. Kilwein, John H. 1989. “No Pain, No Gain: A Puritan Legacy.”Health Education Quarterly 16(Spring):9–12.Google Scholar
  56. Koller, Marvin R. 1988.Humor and Society: Explorations in the Sociology of Humor. Houston: Cap and Gown Press.Google Scholar
  57. Lear, Martha Weinman. 1976. “Jane Fonda: A Long Way from Yesterday.”Redbook, June.Google Scholar
  58. Levin, Susanna. 1987. “Jane Fonda: From Barbarella to Barbells.”Women’s Sports and Fitness, December.Google Scholar
  59. Mademoiselle. 1980. “Fitness.” March.Google Scholar
  60. Martin, Emily. 1987.The Woman in the Body. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  61. McClellan, Diana. 1992. “Barbara Bush: The Final Battle.”Ladies Home Journal, October.Google Scholar
  62. McLeod, Jack M., Gerald M. Kosicki and Zhongdang Pan. 1991. “On Understanding and Misunderstanding Media Effects.” InMass Media and Society, ed. James Curran and Michael Gurevitch, 235–266. London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
  63. McNay, Lois. 1991. “The Foucauldian Body and The Exclusion of Experience.”Hypatia 6(3):125–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Millman, Marcia. 1980.Such a Pretty Face. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  65. Messina, Andrea. 1993. “Fonda’s Workouts That Work.”Family Circle, January 12.Google Scholar
  66. Modleski, Tania. 1982.Loving with a Vengeance: Mass Produced Fantasies for Women. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  67. Morgan, Kathryn Pauly. 1991. “Women and the Knife: Cosmetic Surgery and the Colonization of Women’s Bodies.”Hypatia 6(3):25–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Mower, Joan. 1992. “What Kind of First Lady Do We Really Want?”McCall’s, September.Google Scholar
  69. Nichter, Mark and Mimi Nichter. 1991. “Hype and Weight.”Medical Anthropology 13(3):249–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. O’Brien, Sandra J. and Patricia A. Vertinsky. 1991.The Gerontologist 31(June):347–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Orbach, Susie. 1982.Fat Is a Feminist Issue. New York: Berkley.Google Scholar
  72. Orth, Maureen. 1984. “Fonda: Driving Passions.”Vogue, February.Google Scholar
  73. Radcliffe, Donnie. 1989.Simply Barbara Bush. New York: Warner Books.Google Scholar
  74. Radway, Janice. 1984.Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  75. Redbook. 1990. “Relax with Jane Fonda.” March.Google Scholar
  76. Reed, Julia. 1989. “The Natural.”Vogue, August.Google Scholar
  77. Robbins, Fred. 1977. “Jane Fonda, the Woman.”Vogue, November.Google Scholar
  78. Rodin, Judith, Norean Radke-Sharpe, Marielle Rebuffe-Scrive and M.R.C. Greenwood. 1990. “Weight Cycling and Fat Distribution.”International Journal of Obesity 14:303–310.Google Scholar
  79. Rosengren, Karl E., Lawrence A. Wenner and Philip Palmgreen, eds. 1985.Media Gratifications Research: Current Perspectives. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  80. Rothblum, Esther D. In press. “Lesbians and Physical Appearance: Which Model Applies?”Contemporary Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Psychology.Google Scholar
  81. Schoenfielder, Lisa and Barb Wieser, eds. 1983.Shadow on a Tightrope: Writings By Women on Fat Oppression. San Francisco: Spinsters/Aunt Lute.Google Scholar
  82. Schwartz, Hillel. 1986.Never Satisfied: A Cultural History of Diets, Fantasies and Fat. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  83. Seid, Roberta Pollack. 1989.Never Too Thin. New York: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  84. Seligmann, Jean. 1992. “Let Them Eat Cake.”Newsweek, August.Google Scholar
  85. Shangold, Mona M. 1990. “Exercise in the Menopausal Woman.”Obstetrics and Gynecology 75(4, Supplement):53s-58s.Google Scholar
  86. Simonds, Wendy. 1992.Women and Self-Help Culture: Reading Between the Lines. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  87. Smith, Lori R., Ann Kathleen Burlew, and David C. Lundgren. 1991. “Black Consciousness, Self-Esteem, and Satisfaction with Physical Appearance Among African-American Female College Students.”Journal of Black Studies 22(2):269–283.Google Scholar
  88. Sontag, Susan. 1972. “The Double Standard of Aging.”Saturday Review, October.Google Scholar
  89. Stein, Arlene. 1992. “All Dressed Up, But No Place To Go? Style Wars and the New Lesbianism.” InThe Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader, ed. Joan Nestle, 431–439. Boston: Alyson Publicants.Google Scholar
  90. Stein, Howard F. 1982. “Neo-Darwinism and Survival Through Fitness in Reagan’s America.”The Journal of Psychohistory 10(2):163–187.Google Scholar
  91. Striegel-Moore, Ruth H., Naomi Tucker, Jeanette Hsu. 1990. “Body Image Dissatisfaction and Disordered Eating in Lesbian College Students.”International Journal of Eating Disorders 9(5):493–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Tesh, Sylvia. 1988.Hidden Arguments: Political Ideology and Disease Prevention Policy. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  93. Thomas, Veronica G. 1989. “Body-Image Satisfaction Among Black Women.”The Journal of Social Psychology 129(1):107–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. _____ and Michelle D. James. 1988. “Body Image, Dieting Tendencies, and Sex Role Traits in Urban Black Women.”Sex Roles 18(9/10):523–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Tuchman, Gaye. 1978.Hearth and Home: Images of Women and the Media. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  96. Turner, Bryan S. 1984.The Body and Society: Explorations in Social Theory. New York: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  97. Ungar, Sheldon. 1984. “Self-Mockery: An Alternative Form of Self-Presentation.Symbolic Interaction 7(1):121–133.Google Scholar
  98. Van Zoonen, Liesbet. 1991. “Feminist Perspectives on the Media.” InMass Media and Society, eds. James Curran and Michael Gurevitch, 33–54. London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
  99. Viorst, Judith. 1991. “It’s Time to Bring Back the Family.”Redbook, May.Google Scholar
  100. Vogue. 1988. “First Ladies, First Impressions.” October.Google Scholar
  101. _____. 1988. “Winning Style: Kitty Dukakis and Barbara Bush on First Lady Dressing.” November.Google Scholar
  102. Wadden, T.A., S. Bartlett, K.A. Letizia, G. D. Foster, A. J. Stunkard, and A. Conill. 1992. “Relationship of Dieting History to Resting Metabolic Rate, Body Composition, Eating Behavior, and Subsequent Weight Loss.”American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 56(1 Supplement:203s-208s).Google Scholar
  103. Waitzkin, Howard. 1981. “The Social Origins of Illness: A Neglected History.”International Journal of Health Services 11: 77–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Walker, Nancy A. 1988.A Very Serious Thing: Women’s Humor and American Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  105. Weedon, Chris. 1987.Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory. London: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  106. Winship, Janice. 1978.Inside Women’s Magazines. London: Pandora.Google Scholar
  107. Wolf, Naomi. 1991.The Beauty Myth. New York: William Morrow.Google Scholar
  108. Woodward, Kathleen. 1991.Aging and Its Discontents. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  109. Zillman, Dolf. 1983. “Disparagement Humor.” InHandbook of Humor Research, Vol. I, eds. Paul E. McGhee and Jeffrey H. Goldstein, 85–108. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  110. Zola, Irving K. 1972. “Medicine as an Institution of Social Control.”Sociological Review 20(4):487–504.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myra Dinnerstein
    • 1
  • Rose Weitz
    • 2
  1. 1.the University of ArizonaTucson
  2. 2.the Sociology Department at Arizona State UniversityTempe

Personalised recommendations