“This Guy Is Such a Machine!”: Gendering the Amputee Body in Fashion and Lifestyle Media

in Bodies in Flux
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Abstract

This chapter surveys the recent representations of male amputees in fashion and lifestyle media, including catwalk shows, perfume ads and coffee table books, and situates them within a historical lineage of images depicting the disabled male body. It argues that, despite circulating within the ecology of fashion images, which are usually permeated on playfulness, sensual enjoyment and, often, blurred gender boundaries, such portrayals eschew the connotations of pleasure and consumption and instead rely on tropes of productivity, discipline and power. Furthermore, they construct the male amputee as a triumph of technoscientific knowledge. These motifs, it is suggested, contribute to imbuing the male amputee bodies with qualities associated with ‘hegemonic masculinity’ (Bordo 1999) and thus enforcing normative constructions of gender.