2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

Medieval and Modern Manipulations of the Body
Amy S. Fleming
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

During the middle ages, women who fasted were esteemed by the Christian church to be holy and pure; women saints fasted for years at a time, for only by escaping their bodies by denying sinful cravings did they believe they could achieve perfection in the eyes of God. This ascetic mindset towards food is reflected today in women’s struggles to abstain from eating; the shame associated with satisfying sinful bodily desires resembles many women’s extreme guilt and fear associated with eating. In tracing the shift from religious to secular explanations of society, this paper will seek to broaden and deepen the common view that disordered eating is only a quest for thinness and beauty; it will aim to reveal how women, by strictly controlling their bodily behavior, seek to answer the questions about ultimate truth and meaning that present themselves in everyday life.

Keywords: Fasting, Women, Bodies, Eating, Food, Perfection, Society, Beauty

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 23-1
Location: VH 1212
Time: 9:45

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