Coercive Biomedical Body Politics: Redefining Breast Cancer as a Gender-Marked Experience in the Case Study of Linda Park-Fuller’s ‘A Clean Breast of It.’


The present paper is mainly concerned with exploring the historical stigma, implicit truths, and chaotic dynamics informing women's breast cancer as the most traumatic, disfiguring, and life-threatening illness. For this purpose, the study investigates Linda Park–Fuller’s auto-performance, “A Clean Breast of It” – a pre-millennial, Anglo-American, and gender-conscious case study with the aim of delving into the plights of fractured female bodies living with breast cancer and harassed by bio-power. Scrutinizing their fragmented state of consciousness, the study considers the ways these female bodies are discursively shaped, regulated, categorized, and manipulated by the authority of the (mostly male) medical gaze and the body-focused, seemingly empowering pink ribbon culture. Administering a Foucauldian-inspired Feminist Post-structural approach, the study reaches the conclusion that the dramatized plight and subjective experience in the case study of Park-Fuller’s auto-performance is a gendered journey of reconstructing the self. Moreover, her active questioning of hegemonic discourses and health-related practices of the sexist bio-power serves in demonstrating the ways gender and power relations are constituted within disease regimes, the means by which the sick female bodies are developed within relationships of power, and the potentialities of their (the sick female bodies’) radical transformation.


Neval Nabil Mahmoud Abdullah


breast cancer narratives, female body, feminist post-structuralism, Foucault’s biomedical paradigm, Linda Park-Fuller, pink ribbon culture.