“Watching you–watching me”: Visualising techniques and the cervix

Department of Sociology, University of Aberdeen, Edward Wright Building, Dunbar Street, Aberdeen, AB24 3QY, UK
Women s Studies International Forum (Impact Factor: 0.46). 01/2001;

ABSTRACT Feminist accounts of 1970s women's health activism in the Anglophone world highlight cervical self-examination as a means of reclaiming the female body from biomedical monopoly. Whilst cervical screening programmes have become part of health policy in the United Kingdom and other Western countries, cervical self-examination does not appear to be widespread, nor have many women seen their own cervix. Feminism has also drawn attention to the significance of biomedical imagery and discourse in the engendering of knowledge about one's own body, particularly through visualisation techniques. This paper presents interview material in which women describe the experience of cervical colposcopy and their responses to magnified images of their own cervix during this procedure. The data are used to consider how visualisation techniques shape bodily experience.

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