DANCING IN A CULTURE OF DISORDERED EATING: A FEMINIST POSTSTRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF YOUNG GIRLS’ EXPERIENCES IN THE WORLD OF DANCE
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Eating disorders are a public health issue in Canada where between 600,000 and 990,000 Canadians currently meet the diagnostic criteria for a clinical eating disorder; 80% of these Canadians are females. Of concern are female athletes that participate in aesthetic sports, such as dance, as they are a high-risk group for developing clinical eating disorders. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of female dancers in the world of dance and examine how these experiences shaped their relationship with food and body. Feminist poststructuralism guided by discourse analysis was used to enable a critical understanding of this relationship. Environment, parents, coaches and peers emerged as the largest influencers in shaping the dancers’ relationship with food and body. This study provides knowledge for guiding health promotion initiatives and prevention efforts aimed at supporting change in the culture of dance to reduce (ED)Bs in female dancers.