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Going Commando: Prosthetics and the Politics of Gender


Grant, R, Going Commando: Prosthetics and the Politics of Gender, Platform: journal of media and communication, 6, (2) pp. 61-73. ISSN 1836-5132 (2015) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2015 the Author Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0 AU)

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In light of cultural discourses that position femininity at odds with technology, I was inspired by the work of Donna Haraway to examine how women amputees experience and negotiate feminine embodiment with prosthetic limbs. In her germinal Manifesto for Cyborgs, Haraway theorised the cyborg as a feminist symbol of a utopian "post-gendered world," asserting that techno-hybridity has the potential to destabilise embodied gendered subjectivity—prompting a rethinking of sex, bodies, gender and humanity. In this paper, following a critical discussion of Haraway’s work, I argue that the cyborg continues to be a provocative concept in feminist sociologies of the body, enabling us to explore the complex new subjectivities that are made possible through feminine techno-embodiment. Through an empirical exploration of women amputees’ experiences of living with prosthetic limbs, I found that women can embody and incorporate prosthetic technologies into their feminine selves in multiple, complex, gendered ways. My findings indicate that cyborgian hybridity may have the potential to destabilise some aspects of gendered embodiment and performance for women with prosthetic limbs, which can be experienced as both limiting and liberating.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Gender studies
Research Field:Feminist theory
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Women's and maternal health
UTAS Author:Grant, R (Dr Ruby Grant)
ID Code:104911
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2015-11-25
Last Modified:2016-05-31
Downloads:81 View Download Statistics

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