Bodies, Appearance, Abjection: Women Elite Leaders’ Intra-gender Experiences

Sharon Mavin, Gina Grandy

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

In this paper we develop abject appearance as an analytic frame through an abductive process. We integrate social theories of abjection of the feminine body, disciplined feminine bodies and body work in organizations, with qualitative empirical data on women elite leaders’ experiences of intra-gender social relations with women at work. Abject appearance reflects women’s intra-gender experiences of the consequences of abjection of the feminine body, where women experience a paradox of simultaneous attraction and repulsion in relation to their own and other women’s bodies and appearance at work. We discuss approaches that women elite leaders adopt in intra-gender relations to monitor boundaries and manage the risk of further abjection, namely Fascination with appearance; Refocusing from the body and appearance; Achieving the professional balance; and, Violating by proxy. Through abject appearance we make sense of a consequence of women’s abjection in organizations and how women elite leaders construct themselves and other women as both the One and the Other in intra-gender social relations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event74th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management 2014 - Philadelphia, USA
Duration: 1 Jan 2014 → …

Conference

Conference74th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management 2014
Period1/01/14 → …

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