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The Cult of Victorianism: Eating Disorders and Graphic Medicine

Sathyaraj Venkatesan1 & Anu Mary Peter2

1Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India–620015, sathya@nitt.edu, 0000-0003-2138-1263.

2Research Scholar, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India– 620015, anupeterthekk@gmail.com, 0000-0001-6740-8252.

Volume 9, Number 4, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n4.01

Received October 05, 2017; Revised November 18, 2017; Accepted November 30, 2017; Published December 09,  2017.

Abstract

Eating disorders in women can be identified as a devastating repercussion of the punitive cultural norms of feminine restrictions practiced in the Victorian era. By close reading Karrie Fransman’s graphic narrative The House That Groaned (2012), the present paper foregrounds the abiding and irrefutable presence and influence of Victorian concepts of restrictive eating in the post-millennial era. Borrowing theoretical postulates from Susan Bordo, Susie Orbach, and Deborah Lupton this article seeks to investigate the subterranean cultural connections between these two centuries. Considering eating disorders as a detrimental cultural denouement of Victorian chauvinism, the article also examines how Fransman’s adept utilization of the stylistic and structural affordances of the medium of comics vis-à-vis temporality, gesture, speech balloons, light, and color creates a verbo-visual assertion of the subjectification/ objectification of women.

Keywords: eating disorder, Victorian era, food, eating, sexuality, liberation, restriction.

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