A Body of One’s Own: A Textual, Rhetorical, and Theoretical Analysis of Spatial Consumption and Bodies of Power

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Spring 2017


Pairing lenses from both rhetorical theory and feminism, I approach the human body as a text, considering the ways the body both physically and ideologically fills, or consumes, rhetorical space. The texts I specifically focus on include post-millennial American female bodies existing within a context wherein permanent body modification technology is not only optional but readily available. While the modifications themselves act as vital elements within this discussion, more importantly, I focus on the rhetorical implications and complications that arise when analyzing these specific texts. For countless reasons, women with a wide array of histories choose and at times deny the modifications discussed in this research including body altering surgeries and tattooing. While this collection of texts may appear broad, by examining female bodies that fall within these historical and technological contexts, I consider the collective rhetorical significance of these choices. Within the parameters of the rhetorical situation I examine, the complications that arise include those that occur when multiple aspects of an individual’s physical body act as such vital pieces to the rhetorical situation as a whole and intersect with various other rhetorical elements interacting within the situation. Ultimately the women examined in the following research use their bodies to carve out spaces within the various rhetorical situations they interact in. By doing so, they influence the conversations as interactive participants, their bodies acting as conduits within those situations, channeling the power that inevitably exists within interactions, which ultimately results in their physical bodies signifying bodies of power.


Tabetha J. Adkins

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature