Gender and the language of illness
Charteris-Black, J. and Seale, C. (2010) Gender and the language of illness. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230222359
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This book is based on interviews with people talking about their experiences of many different types of illness. Their use of language shows the influences of gender, social class and age and reveals conformity and resistance to gender stereotypes. Women are express negative feelings towards illness more confidently than men who are usually more hesitant about expressing a personal response. Women tend to see illness as an opportunity for self-transformation, while men often distance themselves from the experience by pretending it is happening to someone else. Women from a high social class are more critical of the health system and older women see themselves as authorities on illness and suffering. However, there is also resistance to stereotypes by higher class and younger men who redefine their gender identity by using ‘feminine’ language and by treating illness as an opportunity to develop a new dynamic sense of self.