Event Title

The White Feminist Movement, Obstetrical Reform, and the Invisible Narratives of Working-class Women and Women of Color

Presenter Information

Ronni Getz, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center, A142

Start Date

4-24-2015 2:45 PM

End Date

4-24-2015 3:45 PM

Abstract

My research centers on childbirth pain management in early 20th-century America, focusing on the advent of twilight sleep around 1914-15. Situated within first-wave feminism, upper-class white women claimed power and agency through their campaign for “painless birth.” Their arguments, upheld by male obstetricians, hinged on race-and class-based ideas that perpetuated the oppression of “uncivilized” women. Recognizing the limits of the archive, I utilize the dominant voices of wealthy white women and male obstetricians to tease out the silenced narratives of working-class women and women of color within the broader history of obstetric anesthesia and the medicalization of childbirth.

Notes

Session 2, Panel 13 - The Grain of the Voice: Feminist Reconsiderations of Fairy Tales, Birthing Practices, and Semi-popular Music
Moderator: Afia Ofori-Mensa, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research

Major

Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies

Advisor(s)

Meredith Raimondo, Comparative American Studies

Project Mentor(s)

Pablo Mitchell, History

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Apr 24th, 2:45 PM Apr 24th, 3:45 PM

The White Feminist Movement, Obstetrical Reform, and the Invisible Narratives of Working-class Women and Women of Color

Science Center, A142

My research centers on childbirth pain management in early 20th-century America, focusing on the advent of twilight sleep around 1914-15. Situated within first-wave feminism, upper-class white women claimed power and agency through their campaign for “painless birth.” Their arguments, upheld by male obstetricians, hinged on race-and class-based ideas that perpetuated the oppression of “uncivilized” women. Recognizing the limits of the archive, I utilize the dominant voices of wealthy white women and male obstetricians to tease out the silenced narratives of working-class women and women of color within the broader history of obstetric anesthesia and the medicalization of childbirth.