A Cultural Analysis Of Reproduction By Emily Martin

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Alyce Barner Professor: Dr. Towghi GWS 111.2 11 August 2016 The Woman in the Body: A Cultural Analysis of Reproduction Emily Martin Anthropologist Emily Martins book” “The Woman in the Body: A Cultural Analysis of Reproduction” is an ethnographic study of male-oriented metaphors for women 's reproductive processes and women 's real thoughts about those processes through interviews. Martin and her assistants interviewed 165 African American and white women, regarding three stages of life starting with the earliest in woman’s life being puberty, then childbearing, and final stages of reproduction cessation being menopause. 57% of the interviewees were middle-class, and 43% of her interviewees were women from the working class. One of the dangers Martin found studying women in American society, was women talking about and reading medical text that described uterine contractions during childbirth as separate, as though contractions were outside of themselves and labor is something women "actively go through." Reading descriptions in medical texts, Martin wondered how male-oriented views from textbooks matched so cohesively with those of the interviewees. After some research, Martin realized the thought process of woman during labor matched the text book definitions due the definitions men witnessed during childbirth and illustrated in text books and woman culturally internalized and learned through ideology as a description of contractions vs. giving birth. Martin discovered
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