Coleman, Rebecca. “The Becoming of Bodies: Girls, Media Effects, and Body Image.” Feminist Media Studies 8.2 (2008): 163-79. Print.



Coleman is responding to the tendency in feminist theory to separate bodies and images from one another along a subject/object dyad. In contrast to this tendency, Coleman argues that bodies become in relation to images–that is, we come to understand our bodies and the bodies of others in relation to the images of bodies that we see. Throughout the piece, Coleman draws on Deleuze’s concept of “becoming” as a theoretical lens for breaking down the binary between subject/object and body/image. Drawing on this theoretical framework, Coleman describes her own empirical research in which she worked with two different groups of 13-14 year old British girls. She conducted a series of interviews and image-making sessions prompting the girls to discuss their relationship to images of bodies, their own body image, and their understanding of what was meant by “image.” Based on this study, Coleman argues that feminists need to stop focusing primarily on the effects of media on body image and instead begin researching how we experience our bodies through and in relation to images.

Additional Comments:

Her use of Deleuze is similar to that of Gibson‘s and her assertion that we come to know our own bodies through the images of bodies we see has an obvious connection with Banks‘s work.

Key Quotes:

“According to this Deleuzian perspective, it is not that images have negative effects on the vulnerable bodies of girls as there are no clear lines of division between them. Instead, the relations between bodies and images produce particular affects, some of which–like ‘feeling bad’–might be limiting to the becoming of bodies.” (169, emphasis in the original)