Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Nancy Romero-Daza, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Heide Castañeda, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Lende, Ph.D.


health, individual, media, political, social, weight


This thesis examines how the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lifestyle changes are impacting the experiences of self-identifying women and females with body image disorders (BIDs) and/or eating disorders (EDs), focusing on the mental, physical, and emotional health of participants. Using surveys, person-centered semi-structured interviews, and autoethnography, I collected qualitative and quantitative data regarding the challenges, triumphs, hopes, and fears of participants regarding their EDs/BIDs during the pandemic and situated their experiences within their sociocultural context. Drawing on anthropological and psychological theory, I examine the data through the lenses of Scheper-Hughes’s and Lock’s “The Three Bodies” (the body politic, body social, and individual body), as well as Fredrickson’s and Roberts’s objectification theory. After identifying the major shifts taking place in participants’ lives during the pandemic, experiences were categorized according to the body (or bodies) in which they manifest. The manuscript elucidates the complex ways that the political, social, and individual bodies of participants are interconnected, particularly with respect to their eating and body image disorders. Exploring the interplay between the bodies and the influence they exert on one another, I posit that the political, social, and personal cannot be completely severed from one another and are most useful as a theoretical framework when construed as different layers of the same experiences. The findings were used to create publicly disseminated lists of recommendations for the ED/BID community and their loved ones, as well as to raise awareness among counselors treating these disorders.