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Om Empowered Femininity
Women in the first decades of the 21st century encounter competing ideologies of femininity. This book traces the existence of two such ideologies - traditional femininity and resistant femininity - in language, in women's magazines, and in relation to the body. The book then uses a Discourse Analysis of women's fitness magazines to investigate how these ideologies, or discourses, are encoded and ultimately merged into a single discourse of femininity.The extremely thin female body encodes traditional femininity in that it represents social values of beauty, smallness, and others-orientation, but it also encodes resistant femininity in that it represents determination, dedication, and strength. Similarly, fitness instructional texts from women's fitness magazines demonstrate a hybrid discourse which integrates the language of traditional femininity and the language of resistant femininity. This hybrid discourse, which the author calls empowered femininity, appears as a seamless combination of the two " parent" discourses by placing itself in the middle of a continuum between traditional femininity and resistant femininity through two themes: limited achievement and celebrating objectification. The empowered femininity discourse also supports a sociological trend of many women wanting to balance competing demands of portraying highly valued but traditionally male traits while still being seen as traditionally feminine.