Material Shifts

Theorizing Endometriosis, Embodiment, and Experimental Art

  • Emma McKenna
Keywords: feminist disability studies, feminist cultural studies, chronic illness, endometriosis, autotheory, textile art


A body changed by illness demands new narrative modes. In this article, I use autotheory to foreground my experience of struggling with symptoms of endometriosis. I enter into conversation with feminist disability scholars who have theorized chronic illness and endometriosis as a disability, and think through some of the socio-economic effects of doing so, particularly within academia. I examine how an experimental arts-based practice can be a method of narrating chronic illness. Situated within a disability art aesthetic, I use textiles to represent a chronic pain episode. These images argue for the inherent worthiness of non-normative female embodiment.