Pregnancy, labor and body image in the United States

Emily Martin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Although substantial research has been done showing how alienation (which in Ollman's terms means that "an essential tie has been cut in the middle") manifests itself in the domain of human labor, little has been done to discover how similar processes might operate in other domains. I examine women's images of their bodies while they are pregnant, using Lakoff and Johnson's method of looking for metaphors that are presupposed in our ordinary language. I uncover several central images, all of which display a marked sense of separation of self from the parts of the body, and a passive stance in which events are described as happening to rather than being brought about by the speaker. Turning to written texts, I find that the literature on childbirth (from opposite ends of the spectrum-popular literature advocating prepared childbirth on one end and obstetrical texts for medical students on the other) holds as assumption in common: that the uterus is an involuntary muscle. This is so despite evidence to the contrary cited in the texts themselves. I explore the implications of this imagery for obstetrical treatment of 'uterine inertia' and show the similarity between this imagery and ideas about women's physiology that were current in the 19th century.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1201-1206
    Number of pages6
    JournalSocial Science and Medicine
    Volume19
    Issue number11
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1984

    Fingerprint

    body image
    Body Image
    Imagery (Psychotherapy)
    pregnancy
    imagery
    labor
    Uterine Inertia
    Parturition
    Literature
    Pregnancy
    Metaphor
    Ego
    Medical Students
    Human Body
    inertia
    Uterus
    image of women
    physiology
    Smooth Muscle
    muscle

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Social Psychology
    • Development
    • Health(social science)

    Cite this

    Pregnancy, labor and body image in the United States. / Martin, Emily.

    In: Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 19, No. 11, 1984, p. 1201-1206.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Martin, Emily. / Pregnancy, labor and body image in the United States. In: Social Science and Medicine. 1984 ; Vol. 19, No. 11. pp. 1201-1206.
    @article{52cab20889ce46fb98511498e801ee53,
    title = "Pregnancy, labor and body image in the United States",
    abstract = "Although substantial research has been done showing how alienation (which in Ollman's terms means that {"}an essential tie has been cut in the middle{"}) manifests itself in the domain of human labor, little has been done to discover how similar processes might operate in other domains. I examine women's images of their bodies while they are pregnant, using Lakoff and Johnson's method of looking for metaphors that are presupposed in our ordinary language. I uncover several central images, all of which display a marked sense of separation of self from the parts of the body, and a passive stance in which events are described as happening to rather than being brought about by the speaker. Turning to written texts, I find that the literature on childbirth (from opposite ends of the spectrum-popular literature advocating prepared childbirth on one end and obstetrical texts for medical students on the other) holds as assumption in common: that the uterus is an involuntary muscle. This is so despite evidence to the contrary cited in the texts themselves. I explore the implications of this imagery for obstetrical treatment of 'uterine inertia' and show the similarity between this imagery and ideas about women's physiology that were current in the 19th century.",
    author = "Emily Martin",
    year = "1984",
    doi = "10.1016/0277-9536(84)90371-X",
    language = "English (US)",
    volume = "19",
    pages = "1201--1206",
    journal = "Social Science and Medicine",
    issn = "0277-9536",
    publisher = "Elsevier Limited",
    number = "11",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Pregnancy, labor and body image in the United States

    AU - Martin, Emily

    PY - 1984

    Y1 - 1984

    N2 - Although substantial research has been done showing how alienation (which in Ollman's terms means that "an essential tie has been cut in the middle") manifests itself in the domain of human labor, little has been done to discover how similar processes might operate in other domains. I examine women's images of their bodies while they are pregnant, using Lakoff and Johnson's method of looking for metaphors that are presupposed in our ordinary language. I uncover several central images, all of which display a marked sense of separation of self from the parts of the body, and a passive stance in which events are described as happening to rather than being brought about by the speaker. Turning to written texts, I find that the literature on childbirth (from opposite ends of the spectrum-popular literature advocating prepared childbirth on one end and obstetrical texts for medical students on the other) holds as assumption in common: that the uterus is an involuntary muscle. This is so despite evidence to the contrary cited in the texts themselves. I explore the implications of this imagery for obstetrical treatment of 'uterine inertia' and show the similarity between this imagery and ideas about women's physiology that were current in the 19th century.

    AB - Although substantial research has been done showing how alienation (which in Ollman's terms means that "an essential tie has been cut in the middle") manifests itself in the domain of human labor, little has been done to discover how similar processes might operate in other domains. I examine women's images of their bodies while they are pregnant, using Lakoff and Johnson's method of looking for metaphors that are presupposed in our ordinary language. I uncover several central images, all of which display a marked sense of separation of self from the parts of the body, and a passive stance in which events are described as happening to rather than being brought about by the speaker. Turning to written texts, I find that the literature on childbirth (from opposite ends of the spectrum-popular literature advocating prepared childbirth on one end and obstetrical texts for medical students on the other) holds as assumption in common: that the uterus is an involuntary muscle. This is so despite evidence to the contrary cited in the texts themselves. I explore the implications of this imagery for obstetrical treatment of 'uterine inertia' and show the similarity between this imagery and ideas about women's physiology that were current in the 19th century.

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0021669163&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0021669163&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1016/0277-9536(84)90371-X

    DO - 10.1016/0277-9536(84)90371-X

    M3 - Article

    VL - 19

    SP - 1201

    EP - 1206

    JO - Social Science and Medicine

    JF - Social Science and Medicine

    SN - 0277-9536

    IS - 11

    ER -