Gender and Degendering in Autobiographical Narratives of Physical Scars

Rose Weitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Numerous researchers have explored how individuals alter their bodies to conform to or challenge gendered bodily norms. In contrast, most that live with scars must after the fact either reconcile their changed bodies with those norms or change their ideas to better match their changed bodies. This article uses narratives written by 284 male and female college students to explore the meanings individuals assign to unwanted scars, focusing on what this process tells us about the gendered body. The three most common meanings-scars as reminders of overcoming adversity, reminders of loved ones, and markers of athleticism-occur equally often in narratives written by men and women. The data illustrate how both gendered bodily norms and recent moves toward degendering affect young people's embodied experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-208
Number of pages17
JournalGender Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Body image
  • Degendering
  • Embodiment
  • Scars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies


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