Yesterday, as faculty advisor to the undergraduate Anthropology Club, I showed the film, "The Business of Being Born," and facilitated a discussion afterward. About 50 students attended. Not bad for Friday at 4pm. (Then again, at least one other colleague and I offered extra credit...)
I could go on and on more about the surprise and shock and earnest questioning that they expressed, including the guys: One approached me afterward and admitted that childbirth had not been a topic he had thought was all that important to him, but now he was not so sure.
Also, I thought I might share part of an e-mail that a student wrote to me after viewing the film:
I don't even know how to describe how I feel after watching it! WOW. First of all, I cannot believe how they used to strap women down to tables like they did in the 1920s like they were test subjects!! I am shocked about the statistics concerning Cesarean Sections- I don't know WHY anybody would choose a surgery over what your body was created to handle itself! I am just mortified over any type of surgery but specifically this one in general. I am also shocked at the connection they mentioned between the rise of unnecessary medical intervention during child birth and the increase in developmental problems in children. It seems so obvious now. And the overall medicalization of child birth- how it is treated like an illness to be "cured". Is child birth really needing a "cure?" Is the cure not being pregnant? Is the "treatment" of pregnancy as an illness seriously necessary? How and why is it looked upon as a "problem to be addressed" is just absolutely fascinating. Child birth is truly a business in modern America- another opportunity to capitalize, which totally takes away from something that is an inherent natural right as a woman. I just loved the film and I needed to email you to share it!
These are exactly the moments when I realize what is so important and meaningful about teaching: It is producing a moment for us to think beyond what we accept as reality, making possible a different reality.