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Fleshing out Gender: Crafting Gender Identity on Women's Bodies

By Valérie Fournier

Abstract

The aim of this article is to flesh out gender by drawing connections between the experience of pain and the experience of womanhood. The article builds upon two themes in feminist work (the constitution of woman through her effacement, and the inscription of gender on the body) and proposes to analyse `effacement' in terms of an embodied sense of being `gutted out', or made `immaterial'. I use this imagery of `gutting out' to suggest that effacement is experienced through the body, and in terms of the presence of pain rather than merely in terms of lack or absence (of voice or subjectivity). Thus I share the view that gender is performed through inscriptions on the body, but I argue that this work of gendering involves hurting and injuring women's bodies; and it is this pain that I attend to in the article. I draw upon Scarry's analysis of the body in pain as a symbolic framework to discuss the pain of womanhood in terms of the annihilation of the self as it is engulfed in a mass of hurting flesh

Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1357034X02008002004
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/3143
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