McKinley and Siegel Finer Present on Rhetorical Work of Women’s Health Narratives

Posted on 10/9/2017 9:33:25 AM

Marissa McKinley (English) organized and chaired a panel at the Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference, including Bryna Siegel Finer (English) and Jamie White-Farnham (University of Wisconsin–Superior) on the rhetorical work of women’s health narratives.

McKinley’s paper, “This is Personal: The Embodied Work of the Women in Teal,” argues that society’s continued privileging of a “normative” female body causes women with polycystic ovarian syndrome to feels as if their bodies are invalid. McKinely’s work, based on the dissertation she is completing in the IUP Composition and TESOL program, explains that women with PCOS search for supportive communities where they can connect with other women with PCOS and exchange embodied discourse.

Siegel Finer, associate professor of English, presented on what she refers to as “The Angelina Affect,” the sexist assumption that women make decisions about their bodies based on emotional responses to fear, and practitioners’ assumptions that they will have life-altering surgery because actress Angelina Jolie underwent a preventative mastectomy after learning she has a genetic mutation making her susceptible to breast cancer. This term is a take-off on “The Angelina Effect,” a phrase coined by Time magazine in 2013. Siegel Finer argues that counter-discourses and a more critical stance toward the breast cancer industry are needed in order to forward a feminist and activist healthcare agenda.

Department of English