PCOS Discourses, Symbolic Impacts, and Feminist Rhetorical Disruptions of Institutional Hegemonies examines the power of hegemonic institutions and their impact on bodies, focusing on how women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) employ rhetorical strategies to resist and disrupt mass media and clinical discourses that seek to define them and their experiences. This monograph argues that through the enactment of bio-power (Foucault), digital and mass media have denied women with PCOS opportunities for autonomous subject formation, and, in turn, allowances for constructing their ontologies and epistemologies. However, by networking in participatory new media, McKinley posits, women with PCOS can reclaim their agency. To support this argument, McKinley rhetorically examines three PCOS artifacts—a television episode, an online popular culture forum, and an online health forum. This monograph bridges the personal and the academic and adds to and extends the work being done in the Rhetoric of Health and Medicine (RHM) on PCOS through the adoption of a unique theoretical lens (e.g., Lisa Melonçon’s performative phenomenology) and methodology (e.g., Norman K. Denzin’s Feminist Communitarian Model) and contributes to conversations surrounding femaleness, femininity, women’s health challenges, and advocacy, as located in RHM scholarship and related fields.
Marissa C. McKinley is assistant teaching professor of English at Quinnipiac University.
List of Abbreviations
Chapter 1: Hegemonic Institutions and Discourses and the Subjugation of the Female Body
Chapter 2: RHM Contributions, Edifications, and Feminist Positions About the Body
Chapter 3: Studying PCOS in Digital and Mass Media Through the Feminist Communitarian Model
Chapter 4: Constructing, Representing, and Responding to PCOS in Mass Media: Enforcing and Offering Alternatives for the Hairlessness Norm and Performing Disidentification and Identification
Chapter 5: Fulfilling Rhetorical Needs in Cyberspace: Health Advocacy and Patient Empowerment in myPCOSteam
Chapter 6: Conclusion and Looking Toward the Future of PCOS Rhetorical Work
About the Author
“In this groundbreaking monograph, Marissa C. McKinley seamlessly weaves personal experiences with rigorous academic analysis to rhetorically explore PCOS through the lens of feminist epistemologies. The book offers a compelling exploration of the construction and portrayal of the PCOS body in both digital and mass media. This generative work not only contributes to discussions on femininity, women's health challenges, and advocacy, but also serves as a vital addition to RHM scholarship and related fields.”
“In highly readable, conversational prose, McKinley uses her own experiences with PCOS as a starting point to interrogate the many ways that those with chronic health conditions must contend with a variety of discriminatory content as they navigate their conditions. Rather than painting a morbid picture of things, though, McKinley focuses on how advocacy might lead to hope and how further research in the rhetoric of health and medicine might aid in such advocacy.”