In recent years the body has become one of the most popular areas of study in the arts, social sciences and humanities. Transgressive Bodies offers an examination of a variety of non-normative bodies and how they are represented in film, media and popular culture. Examining the non-normative body in a cultural studies context, this book reconsiders the concept of the transgressive body, establishing its status as a culturally mutable term, arguing that popular cultural representations create the transgressive or freak body and then proceed to either contain its threat or (s)exploit it. Through studies of extreme bodybuilding, obesity, disability and transsexed bodies, it examines the implications of such transgressive bodies for gender politics and sexuality. Transgressive Bodies engages with contemporary cultural debates, always relating these to concrete studies of media and cultural representations. This book will therefore appeal to scholars across a range of disciplines, including media and film studies, cultural studies, gender studies, sociology, sports studies and cultural theory.
'With its refreshingly lucid applications of body theory to popular cultural texts, this is an original, political, unsettling and utterly readable book. It is essential reading for anyone with a body.' Trish Winter, University of Sunderland, UK 'Transgressive Bodies offers scholarly, witty and incisive readings of the body politics of some of contemporary culture’s most unlikely bodies and pleasures and least comfortable spectacles. From mainstream film to feederism and self-demand amputation Richardson’s sensitive, erudite and compelling analyses amply demonstrate the importance of rethinking the politics of representation in the contemporary "freakshow".' Sadie Wearing, London School of Economics, UK 'Niall Richardson, a media studies scholar, uses cutting edge interdisciplinary analyses to investigate the transgressive dimensions of these types of bodies. Through the lenses of trans studies, sports studies, fat studies, disability studies, queer theory, and body studies, he performs insightful and strikingly close readings of popular films and videos. Even while attending to the most complex theories and atypical situations, this is an extremely lucid book - a great testament to Richardson’s clear and relatable writing style… Overall, this book offers quite an impressive treatment of social class and how transgression is deeply intertwined with pre-existing layers of stratification… This well-written and timely book is perfect for classroom use especially when used with accompanying videos, films or magazines. I can already imagine the engaged conversations that many of Richardson’s interpretations could inspire: conversations about stratification, embodiment, physicalism, sexual identification, body image, gender, class, race… the very core of the sociological enterprise.' Contemporary Sociology 'Richardson examines the social (re)construction of freaks� from the vantage point of representation studies,� an ambitious interdisciplinary
Contents: Introduction: the 'freak' body: nature versus culture? ; Part I Hyper-Muscular Bodies: Introduction: extreme bodybuilding; 'Wow, Dude! 'You're a monster!' The politics of bigorexia; Flex-rated! Hyper-muscular bodies: resistance or erotic spectacle? Part II Fat Bodies: Introduction: fat; But it's only a fat suit! Representing 'fake' fat in popularculture; 'Watch me grow!': fat admiration, stuffing and feederism. Part III Transsexed Bodies: Introduction: transexuality; Finding the voice I want to use: femininity, gentility and TransAmerica; Chicks with dicks and hunks with pussies: eroticising the pre-op transsexual body. Part IV Disabled Bodies: Introduction: disability; There's something about 'crip' bodies: contemporary representations of disability in the films of the Farrelly brothers and Todd Solondz; Becoming whole: amputees, devotees and self-demand amputation; Conclusion: strategies of containment?; Bibliography; Filmography; Index.