The violence of the cut: Gendering self‐harm

Amy Chandler*, Zoi Simopoulou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Taking as a starting point the frequent characterisation of self‐harm as “an adolescent thing for girls,” this paper offers a sociologically informed, qualitative exploration of self‐harm as a gendered practice. We move beyond statistical constructions of this “reality,” and critically examine how this characterisation comes to be, and some of its effects. Our data are drawn from a pilot study that developed a collaborative arts‐based inquiry into meanings of self‐harm. The authors worked with two groups: one of practitioners and another of people who had self‐harmed, meeting over six sessions to discuss and make art in response to a range of themes relating to the interpretation and explanation of self‐harm. Through data generation and analysis, we collaboratively seek to make sense of the gendering of self‐harm, focusing on a series of dualistic Cartesian “cuts” between male and female, violence and vulnerability, and inside and outside. In conclusion, we call for more multi‐ and interdisciplinary explorations of self‐harm, and greater use of diverse, arts‐based, and qualitative methodologies, in order to further expand and nuance understandings and ethical en-gagements with self‐harm, and those who are affected by it.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4650
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Early online date27 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • art
  • gender
  • self‐harm


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