Gender, Eating Disorders, and Graphic Medicine  book cover
1st Edition

Gender, Eating Disorders, and Graphic Medicine

ISBN 9780367443009
Published September 2, 2020 by Routledge
120 Pages

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Book Description

Developing an understanding of eating disorders beyond the biological/medical framework has become a necessity in present times, especially when eating disorders are swiftly spreading deep roots across the world. In view of the multidimensional etiology of eating disorders, there are increased efforts towards understanding its phenomenological, cultural, and other related non-medical aspects, and Gender, Eating Disorders, and Graphic Medicine leaps past the prevalent notions on eating disorder, and contributes to the developing corpus of affective knowledge on eating disorders among women through comics and graphic medicine. Taking cues from select graphic narratives on eating disorders, this book attempts to posit graphic medicine as one of the most befitting modes of life writing. This book is distinctive in that it is an attempt not only to explore the multi-dimensional etiology of eating disorders in women using graphic medicine narratives but also to understand how graphic medicine humanizes eating disorders by offering a unique ingress into women’s phenomenological experience of eating disorders.

Table of Contents


Eating Disorders, Biocultures, and Graphic Medicine

Why Graphic Medicine?

Overview of the Book

1 A Prologue to Graphic Medicine

Medical Humanities: Towards the Humanization of Medical Science

Narrative Medicine: Understanding the Ordeals of Illness

Spectacles of Suffering: Representation of Illness across Media

Comics Medium and Healthcare

Comics, Women, and the Counterculture

Graphic Medicine: Definition and Scope


2 Clinical Evolution of Eating Disorders and the Rise of the Biocultures

Chronicles of Starvation: A Cultural History of Eating Disorders

The Middle Ages: Fasting Saints and Miracle Maidens

From Miracle to Madness and Hysteria

Eating Disorders: A Medical Introduction

Anorexia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa

Binge Eating and EDNOS

Pitfalls in the Popular Explanatory Models of Eating Disorders

The Biocultural Model

Tracing the Footprints of Culture in Science

Graphic Medicine and the Biocultures


3 Warped Femininities: Understanding the Corporeal Nexus of Anorexia and Culture

The Ideal Female Body as a Cultural Construct

Anorexia Nervosa: A Biocultural Approach

"At that time, nobody considered it": Anorexia and Familial Pressure

"Neil! You look like a man!": Body Shaming and Anorexia

"As long as I’m thin… I’ll be invincible:": Media and Thinspiration


4 Subjective Incarnations of Anorexia: Creative Metaphors and Graphic Externalization

Comics, Metaphors, and Externalization

Graphic Medicine and the Iconography of Illness

"I’m Tyranny, your other self": The Metaphor of Self-Oppression

"my Ed—so Big and STRONG": Relationship Metaphors

Dark Clouds of Despair: The Metaphor of Pervasiveness

Epitomizing the Indefinable: The Power of Comics Medium


5 From Abjection to Anorexia: Eating Disorders and the Horrors of the Female Body

Feminist Perspectives on Eating Disorders

Abjection: Origin, and Popular Definitions

Abjection and Anorexia: Theoretical Interventions of Megan Warin

"I feel disgusting": Menstruation, Abjection in Lighter Than My Shadow

"I hate this. I hate me": Menstruation and Abjection in Tyranny

"I’m disgusting": Self-Disgust and Sexual Abuse


Conclusion: Towards an Alternative Understanding of Eating Disorders

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Anu Mary Peter was a Jawaharlal Nehru doctoral research fellow in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the National Institute of Technology, Trichy (India). She is currently an independent health humanities researcher. Her research articles have appeared in various Web of Science/Scopus indexed journals such as Health: An International Journal for Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, and INKS: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society, among others.

Sathyaraj Venkatesan is an Associate Professor of English, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Institute of Technology, Trichy (India). His research concentrates on illness narratives, graphic medicine, and literature and medicine. He is the author of four books and more than eighty research articles. His most recent volume of co-edited essays is titled The Idea and Practice of Reading (2018).