Hidden sorrows – the unspeakable in female breast-loss: Occupational perspectives.

Hidden sorrows - the unspeakable in female breast-loss: Occupational perspectives.

Dr Tina McGrathZoom

The disciplines of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science are founded upon the notion of human occupation as the embodied endeavour to claim space and time through purposeful, meaningful action on the world. This results in a therapeutic practice that blends a biomedical, functional approach with a phenomenological clinical concern for the lived body in health and illness.
An occupational perspective results in an orientation to the existential-phenomenological impact of disease and disability on the subjective realm of individuals. Through the proposed critical lens of breasted occupation, the intimate lived experience of female breast-loss is examined and exposed as a hidden sorrow in the personal occupational narratives of women living with breast cancer.
This loss is lived as a concealed burden of non-conforming difference to socio-culturally sanctioned norms of femininity that render such realities unspeakable in a popular culture of ‘pink ribbons’ and ‘positive attitude,’ and within a disease-focused medical gaze.
In creating such rhetorical space, reaching the edge of this silence becomes possible, revealing textured contexts of deep distress where subjective integrity and personal coherence are challenged. Female breast-loss is marked by an occupational suffering that is strongly gendered, substantially unaddressed and lived as an unspoken shame.

Republic of Ireland
Thu 09:30 - 11:00
Gender and Sexuality, Shame and Stigma
Standard paper