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Experience of people living with the Berardinelli-Seip Syndrome in the Brazilian Northeast


This paper analyzes the experience of people living with the Berardinelli-Seip Syndrome in the Brazilian Northeast. This qualitative study was developed with eleven informants, namely, nine people living with the syndrome and two mothers. Information was gathered using participant observation, social characterization and semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed by means of a thematic coding technique. Two categories emerged: (1) ‘the secret is to shut your mouth’: food management in daily life; and (2) ‘Ah, is it a transvestite?’ body, gender, and masculinization. We concluded that, in the experience of the informants, their negotiations and creativity translated into strategies for food management that integrated tastes, values, habits, biomedical prescriptions and pleasures involved in commensality situations. Regarding corporeality, it has been shown that representations and experiences with the body show gender inequalities, insofar as women become privileged targets of stigmas, prejudices and discrimination in adult life.

Key words
Congenital Generalized Lipodystrophy; Medical anthropology; Illness experience; Food; Gender and health

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