Gender, Corporality, and Body Image

  • Margarita Sáenz-HerreroEmail author
  • Janire Cabezas-Garduño
  • Cristina Díez-Alegría Galvez


The body and corporality constitute the nuclear axis of our identity. In Foucault’s words, “we are embodied”. In this respect, the paradigm of gender is what differentiates human beings at birth in the most nuclear way. The social dimension enters the individual and shapes her/him corporally (embodiment).

This chapter includes the anthropology of gender and the body, together with the cult of the body in Western society, underlining its repercussions for women, the body and language, with the latter understood in Heideggerian terms as the medium that lives within us and shapes us, the body and gender as a nuclear element in constructing an individual’s identity and, more specifically, in constructing female identity. The female body over the course of history and its medicalization and removal from public life, the body and corporality according to psychopathology, postmodern bodies and body image, providing the global, complex vision that is the construction of human identity and, in particular, female identity are also featured in this chapter.


Corporality Body image Corporeality Embodiment Gender differences 


  1. 1.
    Martin CA. Antropología del género. 3rd ed. Valencia: Catedra; 2012.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    BBC; November 2013; [quoted in October 2018]. Germany allows ‘indeterminate’ gender at birth.
  3. 3.
    Furtado PS, Moraes F, Lago R, Barros LO, Toralles MB, Barroso U. Gender dysphoria associated with disorders of sex development. Nat Rev Urol. 2012;9(11):620–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dio BE. La sexualidad femenina. De la niña a la mujer. Barcelona: Paidós; 1997.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bance C. Anthropology rediscovers sexuality: a theoretical comment. Soc Sci Med. 1997;33(8):875–84.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Valcárcel A. Feminismo en el mundo global. Valencia: Catedra UPV; 2010.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    MacCormack C, Strathern M. Nature, culture and gender. New York: Routledge; 1990.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mead M. Male and female. A study of the sexes in a changing world. New York: Morow eds; 1949/1952.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Marylin SM. An anthropological perspective. In: Harris O, Young K, editors. Feminist anthropology. Barcelona: Anagrama; 1979.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    International Society of Asthethic Plastic Surgery. June 2017; [quoted in October 2018]. 2016 Global Statistics.
  11. 11.
    Badinter E. The conflict. How motherhood undermines the status of women. France: Flammarion; 2010.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sanyal MM. Vulva. Barcelona: Anagrama; 2012.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Beauvoir S. The second sex. New York: Vintage Books; 1952.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Foucault M. Histoire de la folie á lâge classique. Paris: Gallimard; 1972.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Bordieu P. Masculine domination. Stanford: Stanford University Press; 2001.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Heidegger M. On the way of being. New York: Harper and Row; 1971.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Heidegger M. Existence and being. Washington, DC: Henry Regnery; 1949.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Griffith JL, Elliot GM. The body speaks: therapeutic dialogues for mind-body problems. New York: Basic Books; 1994.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Maturana HR, Varela FJ. The tree of knowledge: the biological roots of human understanding. Boston: Shanmbala; 1987.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Gadamer HG. Philosophical hermeneutics. Berkley: University of California Press; 1976.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Devaux M. Feminism and empowerment: a critical Reading of Foucault. Fem Stud. 1994;20:223–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Maffia D. Hacia un lenguaje inclusivo ¿Es posible? Jornadas de actualización profesional sobre traducción, análisis del discurso, género y lenguaje inclusivo. Belgrano: Universidad de Belgrano; 2012.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Foucault M. History of sexuality. London: Penguin Books; 1992.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Butler J. Gender trouble. Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge; 1999.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Nanda S. Neither man nor woman: the Hijras of India. Belmont, ON: Wadsworth Publishing; 1998.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Hester D. Eunuchs and postgender Jesus: Matthew 19:12 and transgressive sexualities. J Study New Testam. 2005;28(1):13–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Preciado B. Manifiesto contrasexual. Opera Prima: Barcelona; 2002.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Butler J. Subjects of desire: Hegelian reflections in twentieth century France. New York: Columbia University Press; 1999.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Newton E, Walton S. The misunderstanding. Toward a more precise sexual vocabulary. In: Vance C, editor. Pleasure and danger. Boston: Routledge; 1984.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    TedxTalks; January 2013; [quoted in October 2018]; Baptiste B. Inventing the body.
  31. 31.
    Beltz AM, Blakemore JEO, Berenbaum SA. Sex differences in brain and behavioral development. In: Rubenstein JLR, Rakic P, editors. Neural circuit development and function in the brain. New York: Academic Press; 2013. p. 467–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Berenbaum S, Beltz A. From genes to behavior through sex hormones and socialization: the example of gender development. Twin Res Hum Genet. 2018;21(4):289–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Rubin G. The traffic of women: the political economy of sex. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan; 1975.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Butler J. Undoing gender. London: Routledge; 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Adichie CN. We should all be feminists. Vintage, 2014. In: First presented as a TED Talk given in the United Kingdom at TEDxEuston, in 2012. p. 10.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Plato, Timaeus Dialogue; Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; 2005.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Mithu M. Sanyal. Vulva La revelación del sexo invisible. Barcelona: Anagrama; 2009.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Varela J, Álvarez-Uria F. Madrid: Siglo XXI; 2008.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Didi HG. Invention of hysteria: Charcot and the photographic iconography of the Salpêtriére. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 2003.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    López-Ibor J, et al. Percepción, vivencia e identidad corporales. Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2011;39(Suppl. 3):3–118.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Plath S. The bell jar. London: Faber and Faber Eds; 1966.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    BBC, February 2013 [quoted in October 2018], Sylvia Plath: Jillian Becker on the poet’s last days.
  43. 43.
    Woolf V. A room of one’s own; 1929.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Jaspers K. Psicopatología general. Editorial Beta: Buenos Aires; 1977.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Colina F. Escritos psicóticos. Madrid: Dor; 1996.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Ortega y Gasset J. Vitalidad, alma y espíritu. Obras completas. Madrid: Revista de Occidente; 1946.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Marcel G. Étre et avoir. Editorial Montaigne: París; 1955.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Sartre JP. Being and nothingness. New York: Washington Square Press; 1943.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    May R. Existencia. Nueva dimensión en psiquiatría y psicología. Madrid: Editorial Gredos; 1977.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Merleau-Ponty M. Fenomenología de la percepción. Editorial Península: Barcelona; 1975.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    López Ibor JJ, López Ibor Aliño JJ. Cuerpo y corporalidad. Madrid: Editorial Gredos; 1974.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Lhermitte J. L’image de notre corps. Paris: Nouvelle Revue Critique; 1939.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Foucault M. Utopian body. Cambridge, MA: Sensorium, MIT Press; 1966.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Pera C. Pensar desde el Cuerpo. Un ensayo sobre la Corporeidad humana. Madrid: Triascatela; 2006.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Janet P. L’evolution psychologique de la personnalite’. 1st ed. Edition Chahine: París; 1929.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Ribot T. Les maladies de la personnalité. Felix Alcan: París; 1884.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Fredrickson BL, Roberts T. Objectification theory: toward understanding women’s lived experiences and mental health risks. Psychol Women Q. 1997;21:173–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Holland G, Tiggemann M. A systematic review of the impact of the use of social networking sites on body image and disordered eating outcomes. Body Image. 2016;17:100–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Zubiri X. Sobre el hombre. Madrid: Alianza; 1986.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Leder D. The absent body. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press; 1990.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Varela FJ, Thomson E, Rosch E. The embodied mind. Cognitive science and human experience. Cambridge: MIT Press; 2004.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Damasio AR. Descartes error: emotion, reason and the human brain. New York: G.P. Putnam; 1994.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Schopenhauer A. El arte de conocerse a sı’ mismo. Madrid: Alianza; 2007.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Wilde O. Poemas en prosa. Madrid: Aguilar; 1962. Poems in Prose. The Fortnightly Review 1894.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Baecque A. El cuerpo en el cine en Historia del cuerpo vol III. Madrid: Taurus; 2006.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Cash TF. Body image: past, present, and future. Body Image. 2004;1:1–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Schilder P. Imagen y apariencia del cuerpo humano. Editorial Paidos: Buenos Aires; 1977.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Wallon H. Les origins du caractére chez l’enfant. París: Presses Universitaires de France; 1930.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Ajuriaguerra J. Evolución y trastornos del conocimiento corporal y de la conciencia de sí mismo. Manual de Psiquiatría Infantil. Toray-Masson: Barcelona; 1976.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Marías J. Persona. Madrid: Alianza; 1996.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Ortega y Gasset J. Meditaciones del quijote o experimentos de nueva España. In: Obras Completas. 41st ed. Madrid: Revista de occidente; 1914/1957. Tomo II. p. 322.Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Marías J. Antropología metafísica. Madrid: Revista de Occidente; 1970.Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Damasio AR. The Somatic marker hypothesis and the possible functions of the prefrontal cortex. Philos Trans R Soc Lond Biol Sci. 1996;351(1346):1413–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Gallese V. Empathy, embodied simulation, and the brain: commentary on Aragno and Zepf/Hartmann. J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 2008;56(3):769–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. 75.
    Lewis M, Brooks-Gunn J. Social cognition and the acquisition of self. New York: Plenum; 1979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Lewis M. Aspects of the self: from systems to ideas. In: Rochat P, editor. The self in early infancy: theory and research. Amsterdam: North Holland; 1995.Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Rochat P, editor. The self in early infancy: theory and research. Amsterdam: North Holland; 1995.Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Lewis M, Sullivan MW, Stanger C, Weiss M. Self development and self-conscious emotions. Child Dev. 1989;60(1):146–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Bischof-Köhler D. Self object and interpersonal emotions. Identification of own mirror image, empathy and prosocial behavior in the 2nd year of life. Psychol Z Angew Psychol. 1994;202(4):349.Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    Zahn-Waxler C, Radke-Yarrow M, Wagner E, Chapman M. Development of concern for others. Dev Psychol. 1992;28(1):126–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. 81.
    Asendorpf JB. Self awareness, other awareness and secondary representation. In: Meltzoff AN, Prinz W, editors. The imitative mine: development, evolution and brain bases. Cambridge studies in cognitive perceptual development. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2002.Google Scholar
  82. 82.
    Leslie A. Pretense and the representation revisited. In: Stein N, Bauer P, Rabinowitz M, editors. Representation, memory and development. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Album; 2002. p. 103–4.Google Scholar
  83. 83.
    Schilder P. The image and the appearance of the human body. Studies in constructive energies of the psyche. New York: International University Press; 1950.Google Scholar
  84. 84.
    Slade PD. Body image in anorexia nervosa. Br J Psychiatry. 1988;153(2):20–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margarita Sáenz-Herrero
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Janire Cabezas-Garduño
    • 2
  • Cristina Díez-Alegría Galvez
    • 3
  1. 1.University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHULeioaSpain
  2. 2.Cruces University HospitalBilbaoSpain
  3. 3.San Carlos Clinic HospitalMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations