To say that the human body is the focus of health care is an observation so obvious as to seem trivial, and yet in its unproblematised form it is one major axis of the inadequacy of traditional healthcare ethics. In the convention, the ideal body of biomedicine is taken to precede the operation of a bioethics which claims to offer a moral analysis of the practices of the body. What I shall argue in this chapter is that the body, as we know it, is a fabrication, organised not according to an historically progressive discovery of the real, but as an always insecure and inconsistent artefact, which merely mimics material fixity. It is not, then, that a single and unified discursive construct stands in for the givenness of the real, but rather that a plethora of competing discourses resist any final closure on the question of the body. With that in mind, I have intentionally avoided a narrative structure to my exposition, preferring instead to uncover an array of discontinuous and discrete 4truths’, associated one with the other only by a logic of phallocentrism. The point is that for all their fluidity, not all discourses are of equal status, and what I want to demonstrate is how certain forms achieve dominance through normalisation and reiteration. Moreover, by looking at a linked series of dichotomies which underlay the cultural history of the West, I shall argue that, although the bodies of women have figured strongly throughout, they have been habitually conceptualised and valued in a quite different way from those of men.