Obstetric Violence and Pornography of the Real

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


I take the play Anatomy of a mermaid as a vehicle that allows me to explore how obstetric violence as a form of symbolic power (Bordieu, 1977) has been normalised and perpetuated. Pinheiro looks at the image we have of childbirth in our collective imaginary and finds in film representations the references we have of this. I take this further to explore how films have allowed for an assimilation of women as victims. Specifically, I take Creed analysis of the ‘monstrous-femenine’, female represenations in horror films, to investigate how women have been portrayed as monsters when giving birth.
With the visual piece accompanying this paper, I explore Godmilow’s idea of making documentary films that are outside pornography of the real. This means films that instead of being pleasurable experiences for the audience they are useful, giving the audience the keys of what they should know to understand a situation (Godmilow, 2002). I too take non-fiction as a vehicle to challenge the audience’s acquired dipositions (Bordieu, 1977) and to place them in the uncomfortable position of realising they are part of the problem the film presents. By understanding their role in perpetuating a reality the audience can be re-educated to create new models in order to change reality.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2 Apr 2019
EventScreening Violence - The Storey, Meeting House, Lancaster, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Apr 20195 Apr 2019


ConferenceScreening Violence
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Female
  • screen studies
  • violence
  • Pregnancy
  • Labour

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