‘How Did You Get that Scar?’ Gender and the Appropriation of Visibly Marked Bodies

Part of the Health, Technology and Society book series (HTE)


This chapter aims to unravel how gender and age intersect in the ways in which women learn to live with pacemakers and ICDs. Although all wired heart cyborgs have to appropriate their technologically transformed bodies, women may face other vulnerabilities, partly because these devices are designed to fit adult male bodies. During my fieldwork, I learnt that scars, resulting from the implantation of pacemakers and ICDs, constitute a major problem, particularly for women. Although these heart devices are inserted under the skin, they leave their marks on the body. To conceptualize how women learn to live with their visibly marked bodies, I adopt and refine the theory of passing developed in disability studies. This chapter describes how gendered mismatches between devices, bodies, and Western cultural norms about femininity and beauty contribute to a techno-geography of resilience, which delegates new responsibilities to women.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Science, Technology and Policy StudiesUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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