Summary of Findings

This section is a selection of quotations representing the young women’s description of their experience with food, shape and weight issues (FSW). After multiple readings of the text (transcribed interviews) four major categories were identified:

* Negotiating the body
* Psychological mastery
* Negotiating gender
* Politics and ideology

Each major category was further analyzed to produce 20 themes (see Figure 1).

It may appear, at times, that the young women are contradicting themselves; however, in applied discourse analysis these seemingly oppositional statements simply represent the different selves we identify with in order to make sense of our experience and to make sure that we appear ‘normal’.

For example, young women are very informed about eating disorders. When answering questions about making changes to their bodies, they are determined to distinguish themselves from someone with an eating disorder because that would indicate that they were psychologically unhealthy in some way. At the same time they want to be seen as someone who is willing to improve themselves but are not vain.