Bodies Unbound: Gender-Specific Cancer and Biolegitimacy (Critical Issues in Health and Medicine) (Paperback)
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Bodies Unbound is a comparative study showing how ideologies of gendered bodies shape medical care and the ways in which patients respond to these ideologies through decisions about their bodies using three cases: transgender men seeking preventative gynecological care, cisgender men diagnosed with breast cancer, and cisgender women with breast cancer who elect to undergo prophylactic mastectomies. Bodies Unbound is a story about how the relationship between bodies and gender becomes socially intelligible as well as how medical professionals use their position of relative authority over bodies to dictate which combinations of bodies and genders are legitimate or not. Drawing on the experiences of individuals whose bodies and gender identities don't match medical and social expectations for gynecological and breast cancer care, Sledge unravels the taken-for-granted alignment of bodies and gender that provide the foundation of medical care in the United States.
About the Author
PIPER SLEDGE is an assistant professor of sociology and affiliated faculty with the Gender and Sexuality Studies, Health Studies, and Africana Studies programs at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.
"Sledge’s fieldwork has led to a rich and vibrant analysis of how gender is enacted, resisted, performed, and policed in medical settings. Her accessible writing style and complex sociological analysis make this a powerful and unique contribution to the field."
— Lisa Jean Moore
"In a system that renders some relationships between bodies and gender identities legitimate and others illegitimate, Sledge employs an innovative research design that compares the experiences of patients with the ‘wrong body’ for gynecological and breast cancers. Each of these groups of patients disrupts normative expectations about gendered bodies. Conceptually integrating well-known but limiting 'doing gender' perspectives with more recent work on bio-citizenship, Sledge vividly illustrates how gendered biolegitimacy offers a powerful new theoretical framework for the study of gender and health."
— Asia Friedman
"Bodies Unbound has many strengths and is written for scholars, students, and health practitioners who are interested in learning about how medicine normalizes and legitimizes gender and body and how patients and providers alike can resist and change the gendered health care system. Bodies Unbound makes important contributions to the scholarships of medical sociology, gender, and embodiment through addressing critical questions with careful analysis and compelling evidence."
— Gender & Society