Gender Tech. How technology controls women's bodies
The gynaecological speculum, the contraceptive pill, the pregnancy test, the ultrasound scan, the devices for fertility control... while they have enabled women to gain more and more knowledge over their own bodies and reproductive health, they have also helped to reinforce old forms of oppression or create new ones.
Technologies such as the contraceptive pill, the pregnancy test, ultrasound scanning and period tracking apps have radically transformed women’s relationship with their bodies. These tools have ensured their increasing emancipation, fostering their reproductive self-determination and freeing them from the constraints imposed by ‘nature’. This technological progress, however, has shown just as many oppressive repercussions: from the side effects of synthetic hormones, still little known, to fertility control in the most fragile populations; from the use of ultrasound as a weapon of anti-abortion propaganda to the monetisation of sensitive personal data. Every time the female body has opened itself to the investigation of the scientific gaze, it has run the risk of being objectified and exposed to new insidious forms of discrimination and violence. In tracing the scientific and social histories of ‘gender technologies’, Laura Tripaldi turns to feminist thought, biotechnology and philosophy to reflect as much on the construction of contemporary sexual identities as on the ambivalent relationship between technology and power. In fact, far from being neutral tools, these devices cannot free themselves from the traces of the patriarchal culture that produced them.