Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Gender and Women's Studies

Reader 1

Chris Guzaitis

Reader 2

Susan Castagnetto

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Rights Information

© 2012 Shayna L. Orent


This thesis explores the way popular culture imitates and reinforces a sentimentalized reading of sonogram images that has been established by the conservative Right as the proper way to view this image. It analyzes several popular culture texts to expose the way their use of sonogram images personifies the fetus. It aims to problematize the way this image has become a symbol of fetal personhood and initiate a discussion about our roles as consumers of popular culture and images. Finally, it connects the use of this image to recent legislation surrounding mandatory ultrasounds and personhood initiatives, and argues that the public’s acceptance of fetal personhood is dangerous for women’s personhood and citizenship.