Title page for ETD etd-739112949741481

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Oliver, Kimberly L.
Author's Email Address kioliver@vt.edu
URN etd-739112949741481
Title Adolescent Girls' Body-Narratives and Co-Constructed Critical Interpretations
Degree PhD
Department Teaching and Learning
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Lalik, Rosary V.
Redican, Kerry J.
Sawyers, Janet K.
Singh, Kusum
Graham, George M. Committee Chair
  • Adolescent girls
  • teaching
  • physical education
  • transformation
  • oppression
  • culture
  • narrative
  • body
Date of Defense 1996-06-05
Availability unrestricted

Abstract Narrative analysis, a form of narrative inquiry,

uses stories to frame and describe how people interpret

and construct the meanings of their lives. Stories connect

us with our past, help us to understand our present, and

offer vision of possible futures. People live and create their

lives through the stories they see, hear, tell, internalize, and

hope for. The interpretation of narrative is not about

certainties or standards, but rather about the multiplicity of

perspectives and possibilities that can be constructed to

make experience understandable. Critical interpretation of

narrative can thus be a transformative process; a process

being so crucial to the health of adolescent girls in Western

culture. This study explores how four adolescent girls, and

one researcher, together, interpreted and constructed the

meanings of their bodies. The journey connects the

researcher's struggle to find more democratic and

empowering forms of inquiry, with the stories four eighth

grade girls, diverse in race, social class, religion, and skin

color, tell about how they experience and see their bodies

in culture, in relation to others, and as them selves. All four

girls are learning to create and desire an "image" of an

ideal woman, and thus are beginning to objectify their

bodies to be "looked at" by others. Image was a

predominant interpretive frame for constructing meaning of

the body for all four girls. Yet race, particularly visual

racial representations, was also a predominant interpretive

frame for the two African American, and one African

American-Indian girls.

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