“The understanding of the body develops in cultural studies through the recognition of the body as a site of meaning…The body is indeed a key site at which culture and cultural identity is expressed and articulated, through clothing, jewelry, and other decoration and through the shaping of the body itself (through tattoos, hair styles, body-building and dieting, for example). It is through the body that individuals can conform to or resist the cultural expectations imposed upon them” (Edgar and Sedgwick 31-32).
Ideal body types exist for both men and women. For example, women are expected to be thin, but curvy and men are expected to be broad-shouldered and muscular.
Body ideals are culturally constructed and change over time. “The construction, of course, is always homogenizing and normalizing erasing racial, class, and other differences and insisting that all women [and men] aspire to a coercive, standardized ideal.” –Susan Bordo, Unbearable Weight
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