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|Title:||Reducing and Revisioning The Body: Women's Experiences of Weight Loss Surgery|
|Advisor:||Lenton, Rhonda L.|
|Abstract:||<p>This dissertation examines the experience of 30 women, 15 Canadians and 15 Americans, who have undergone bariatric (weight loss) surgery. Bariatric surgery is reserved for morbidly obese persons; that is, those who weigh more than twice their ideal weight. An integrated model of the insights from stigma and feminist theory is used as the conceptual framework of the study. In semi-structured, in-depth interviews following the format of a life review, the participants discussed the wide-ranging effects of morbid obesity on their lives. My participants' weight negatively affected their family relationships, romantic relationships, and employment prospects. Their weight also had a negative impact on their health and self-image. Dieting and other weight loss strategies proved to be futile. The decision to undergo surgery was not taken lightly, and the majority of the sample maintained they underwent surgery to resolve medical problems and to increase their quality of life. Twenty of the participants had a succesful surgery, although most did not attain a normative weight. The remaining 10, however, experienced massive weight rgain or suffered such severe complications that the procedure had to be reversed. The women whose surgeries were successful reported that weight loss had a dramatic, positive impact on their lives, health and identities. This subgroup discovered a new relationship between the postoperative body and the self, a process that 1 describe as re-embodiment. The majority of the women whose surgeries failed became empowered through self-acceptance and the influence of the size acceptance movement. These women have also constructed a new relationship between the body and the self, and I refer to this process as re-selvement. Interestingly, the stigma of obesity is a greatly diminished factor in the postoperative lives of both sub-groups. I argue that the satisfaction of the surgical successes neutralizes the effects of stigma. The women whose surgeries failed but who have become self-accepting neutralize stigma by challenging their devalued status. This dissertation contributes to knowledge by adding to the sparse literature on the subjective experiences of obese people. My research yields insights into the complexities involved when the body undergoes a dramatic transformation.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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