Am I Still a Woman?: Hysterectomy and Gender Identity

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Temple University Press, 2004 - Health & Fitness - 254 pages
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Recent scientific findings regarding the potential dangers associated with hormone replacement therapies bring renewed attention to the relationship between women's bodies and gender identity. In Am I Still A Woman? Jean Elson offers the testimony of women who have thought deeply about this issue as a result of gynecological surgery. For the women in this book, gynecological surgery for benign conditions proved to be a crisis that prompted questions about the meanings of sexual and reproductive organs in relation to being female and feminine. Is a woman who no longer menstruates still a woman? What about a woman who can no longer bear children? Elson looks closely at the differences in responses to understand the impact of surgery and lost fertility on sexuality and partnerships as well as the steps some women take to deal with a sense of a stigmatized identity. Whether they reconceptualized their old notions of what it means to be a woman or put a new focus on making themselves attractive, they made conscious efforts to reclaim their female identity and femininity. This book provides a wealth of insight into the choices women make regarding gynecological surgery and maintaining their sense of themselves as women. Author note: Jean Elson teaches sociology at the University of New Hampshire.
  

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Am I still a woman?: hysterectomy and gender identity

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The role of the body in gender identity is an interesting issue that medical sociologist Elson explores here. To "understand the complicated interaction between body and society," she interviewed ... Read full review

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Contents

Stratified Stigma
30
An Ovary Prosthesis? The Meanings
47
Badge of Femininity? Menstruation
70
Womens Work? Motherhood
90
Feel Like a Woman? Sexuality
123
Biographical Work and Impression
154
Am I Still a Woman?
171
The Issue of Medical Necessity
192
Research Methodology
199
References
223
Index
249
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Jean Elson teaches sociology at the University of New Hampshire.

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