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Body as Voice, Voice as Body: Representation in Nancy Mairs' Carnal Acts

This essay will explore the way in which Mairs has turned to language as the primary tool of reclaiming her identity and battling objectification. The aim of this essay is to establish not only the importance of language in Mairs’ struggle against objectification but also the way in which the capacity for speech is directly linked to the capacity for representation. In addition to exploring the objectification that occurs through perceptions of both Mairs’ disabled body and her gendered body, it will be shown how both of these “bodies” are, according to Mairs, constructed in a manner that necessitates that a discussion of disability in Mairs’ work must also include some reference to gender. Mairs continuously insists that the primary problems faced by the disabled, and also by women, are objectification and silencing; to counter these difficulties, disabled persons, and disabled women in particular, must create themselves within a language that will allow them to render themselves as subjects rather than objects of discourse.


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