This week’s readings addressed the body in terms of science, medicine, and the creation of racialized bodies. I found the ways in which our society has constructed meanings about the body to be very interesting. Schiebinger’s piece on the theories behind the construction of gender and race opened my eyes to how some of the stereotypes we have today started a very long time ago. The Johnson v. Calvert case is a prime example of how ‘race’ can affect the way a person lives their life. Johnson’s voice was not heard and not seen as credible in the public eye because of the color of her skin. Johnson claimed to have formed a ‘bond’ with the child during the course of pregnancy, but the public and the judge did not choose to believe her. It is interesting though that during this time a study came out by Evans and Fletcher entitled the “visual bonding theory” which stated that women should be exposed to ultrasound technology during pregnancy so that they can form a bond with their child by seeing the child in their body. In society at the time, it was understood that a women forming a bond with her child during pregnancy was the norm and seen as a positive thing. So why was it so hard for the jury to believe that Johnson had formed a bond with the baby growing inside of her?

After reading this piece by Hartouni, i wondered how the case may have turned out if Johnson had been white? However, Hartouni addresses this by saying that the case would have turned out with the same results because even if Johnson was white, she was still a lower class, single woman. The Calverts were a middle class, white, heterosexual married couple so they were the better ‘pick’ according to societies standards. I wonder how this case would have turned out in today’s discourse in 2011? It most likely would have turned out the same because not too much has changed since the 1980s and 90s referring to the stereotypes against women of color. Also it is interesting to look at how the media and public thought that Johnson was ‘using’ the Calverts for monetary gain and status when really, the Calverts were literally using Johnson’s body to obtain a child. This relates back to Foucault’s notion of the docile body and how some bodies are used and contained more than other bodies. The woman of color’s body is used and contained the most in our society according to history and even in todays society.

Advertisements