This paper draws on data collected from young white middle class women experiencing eating disorders to highlight what we refer to as the paradox of performativity in schools. In interviews with these young women on their schooling experiences, their narratives convey both a critique of the social conditions of their schooling and their subjugated subjectivities, yet claim they are unable to 'voice' that critique within schools, or to resist performativity. In this paper, we explore this ambiguity and the implications it has for the subjectivities of young women. Such stories vividly reveal the painful and complex processes they endure in an effort to conform to performative cultures. The limits and possibilities of their 'voice' within these contexts, we suggest, reveals how performative discourse intersects with and is mediated by the embodied knowledge that both teachers and students bring to these educational encounters.