Becoming a "normal" guy: Men making sense of long-term bodily changes following bariatric surgery





Co-action Publishing



Background : To date, research on bodily changes following bariatri c surgery has focused predom inantly on women, leaving the long-term experience of men relatively unexplored. In th is paper, we draw on interviews with men who have undergone an irreversible gastric bypass procedure to explore their bodily changes more than 4 years post-surgery. We apply a phenomenological framework that draws on Leder’s perspectives on the ‘‘disappearing’ ’ and ‘‘dys-appearing’’ body, co mbined with a gender-sensitive lens that draws on Connell’s theory of hegemonic masculini ty and Robertson’s conception sofembodiedmasculinity. Findings : Our principal finding was that the men negotiated their bodily changes following bariatric surgery in profoundly ambivalent ways. Although they enthusiastically praised the surge ry for improving their health, self -esteem, and social functioning, they also emphasized their efforts to cope with post-surgical side eff ects and life-threatening complica tions. Our analysis elaborates on their efforts to adjust to and come to terms with these changes, focusing on episodes of hypoglycemia , severe pain and internal herniation ,and the significance of physical activity and exercise. Conclusions : Our findings point to the need to acknowledge men’s ways of making sense of profound and ongoing bodily changes following bariatric surgery and how these negotiations are closely intertwined with masculine ideals of embodiment and social value.



(c) 2015 K. S. Groven et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute thematerial in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.

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