Managing meaning and belonging: young women’s negotiation of authenticity in body art

Article


Riley, Sarah C.E. and Cahill, S. 2005. Managing meaning and belonging: young women’s negotiation of authenticity in body art. Journal of Youth Studies. 8 (3), pp. 261-279.
AuthorsRiley, Sarah C.E. and Cahill, S.
Abstract

It is a common sense ideology that appearance is vertically representative, in that the outer surface reflects the inner self. This paper explores the impact of this ideology on women’s understandings of their Body Art. Meaning and belonging were identified as central themes in accounts produced from two focus groups with young women in Glasgow, Scotland, who had piercings and tattoos. Meaning was constructed through two alternative accounts. First, that Body Art is meaningful because it represents a particular and valued subjectivity (brave, independent, different). Second, that the current popularity in Body Art endangers the vertical representation of the first account, making Body Art meaningless. To claim a meaningful relationship with Body Art our participants drew on discourses of sub-cultural knowledge, ‘Othering’, authenticity and rights. These discourses show that authenticity continues to be an important account in youth cultures. Authenticity both worked to produce a meaningful personal identity, but also a “mythical mainstream” that denied other young women discursive space from which to explore alternative subjectivities through Body Art.

Keywordsbody art; women; idendity; youth culture
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Journal citation8 (3), pp. 261-279
Year2005
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1337
Publication dates
Print2005
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Nov 2011
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Citation:
Riley, Sarah CE and Cahill, S. (2005) ‘Managing meaning and belonging: young women’s negotiation of authenticity in body art’ Journal of Youth Studies, 8(3), pp 261-279..

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License: CC BY-ND

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