You are here

A Feminist Cultural Study of Identity, Hair Loss, and Chemotherapy

Download pdf | Full Screen View

Date Issued:
2015
Summary:
The main aim of this dissertation is to discuss the way women negotiate the cultural meaning of hair loss, alopecia, as a result of undergoing chemotherapy, and to understand, accordingly, how cancer's cultural effects regarding women can be deeply different from those of men. Very few studies have been done about the cultural impact and resonance of alopecia. It is often regarded as "secondary" to other effects of chemotherapy. Because, in many cultures, head hair for women expresses or manifests attractiveness and power, to be bald is to be deprived of the ability to fit into society, whether in the public or private sphere. The study examines the representation of such women in the media, audience/subject responses to these representations, and interrogates women's identities and representations in terms of Laura Mulvey's theory of the male gaze. Women who have experienced chemotherapy-induced alopec ia were interviewed in this regard. Other contributive feminist, cultural and/or media studies works, such as those by Suzanna Walters, Susan Bordo, Naomi Wolf, Donna Haraway, Stuart Hall, Kimberle Crenshaw, and Judith Butler, help facilitate the analysis. From these perspectives, a historical analysis takes into consideration the symbolic dimension of hair, especially women's head hair, within Western cultural history, particularly in France and a multicultural America. In addition, a textual analysis looks at women, cancer, and hair loss as represented in popular culture characters and personalities. The study insists on the necessity for women to resist to the culture industries and deconstruct the male gaze, as well as the female gaze, which can both contribute to, and perpetuate women's objectification.
Title: A Feminist Cultural Study of Identity, Hair Loss, and Chemotherapy.
288 views
55 downloads
Name(s): Guillerm, Celine, author
Scodari, Christine, Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
School of Communication and Multimedia Studies
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2015
Date Issued: 2015
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 206 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: The main aim of this dissertation is to discuss the way women negotiate the cultural meaning of hair loss, alopecia, as a result of undergoing chemotherapy, and to understand, accordingly, how cancer's cultural effects regarding women can be deeply different from those of men. Very few studies have been done about the cultural impact and resonance of alopecia. It is often regarded as "secondary" to other effects of chemotherapy. Because, in many cultures, head hair for women expresses or manifests attractiveness and power, to be bald is to be deprived of the ability to fit into society, whether in the public or private sphere. The study examines the representation of such women in the media, audience/subject responses to these representations, and interrogates women's identities and representations in terms of Laura Mulvey's theory of the male gaze. Women who have experienced chemotherapy-induced alopec ia were interviewed in this regard. Other contributive feminist, cultural and/or media studies works, such as those by Suzanna Walters, Susan Bordo, Naomi Wolf, Donna Haraway, Stuart Hall, Kimberle Crenshaw, and Judith Butler, help facilitate the analysis. From these perspectives, a historical analysis takes into consideration the symbolic dimension of hair, especially women's head hair, within Western cultural history, particularly in France and a multicultural America. In addition, a textual analysis looks at women, cancer, and hair loss as represented in popular culture characters and personalities. The study insists on the necessity for women to resist to the culture industries and deconstruct the male gaze, as well as the female gaze, which can both contribute to, and perpetuate women's objectification.
Identifier: FA00004502 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2015.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Baldness -- Psychological aspects
Body image
Cancer -- Psychosomatic aspects
Cancer -- Treatment -- Complications
Feminine beauty (Aesthetics)
Identity (Psychology)
Self esteem in women
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Links: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004502
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004502
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author, with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Owner Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.