Belly of the Beast (Cohn, 2020) chronicles the legal and political battle surrounding forced and coerced sterilization of women incarcerated in the Central California Women’s Facility during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Uncovering a contemporary example of eugenics and the institutional logics that protect and justify those practices, this film provides a crucial tool for feminist educators teaching about reproductive injustice, racism, gender-based oppression, and the power of feminist activism. In what follows, I briefly summarize the film and offer a discussion of how it might be used as a tool of feminist pedagogy by 1) providing an opportunity to explore power relations based on the intersecting forces of racism, sexism, medicalization, and criminalization, 2) illustrating the value of multiple ways of knowing (personal experience, scientific inquiry, legal and moral argumentation), and 3) exhibiting the power of feminist activism to bridge social and institutional divides and create meaningful change.
"Documentary Review: Belly of the Beast,"
Feminist Pedagogy: Vol. 2:
2, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/feministpedagogy/vol2/iss2/9