In this paper, I consider how the female body is disciplined utilizing Foucault’s notion of the panoptic gaze. I build upon his insights concerning societal surveillance by examining how the pregnant body is disciplined to fit into four general categories. I first review literature about pregnant women and find that most scholarship frames pregnant women in four ways: women are disciplined to be commodified, to be selfless, to protect the fetus, and to respond willingly to the medical gaze. I then further this line of inquiry to consider how the reproductively primed body (i.e., a female that has reached menarche) is disciplined similarly. I make the argument that the pregnant body and the reproductively primed body are disciplined in order to continue keeping women docile within a body politic. Ultimately, exposing the ways pregnant bodies and reproductively primed bodies are disciplined allows us to consider how we might break or change discipline in order for women to control their own bodies.
Cummins, Molly Wiant
"Reproductive Surveillance: The Making of Pregnant Docile Bodies,"
Kaleidoscope: A Graduate Journal of Qualitative Communication Research:
Vol. 13, Article 4.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/kaleidoscope/vol13/iss1/4