Black women with vaginal fistula: the power to silence via internet imagery
McLaren, HJ & Gatwiri, GJ 2016, 'Black women with vaginal fistula: the power to silence via internet imagery', Social Alternatives, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 47-52.
Internet imagery is a powerful tool in which representation of people perpetuate discursive constructions that may invariably rank individuals according to race. The research informing this paper involved searching for Internet images associated with vaginal fistula and an analysis of racialisation in representations within. The data set consisted of photo images, drawings and diagrams of vaginal fistula. Observations were that photo images were predominantly of black women and drawings and diagrams of non-black women. This asymmetrical representation of vaginal fistula, we argue, locates the deservedness, worth and concern for women according to race – Black women as curiosities, dirty and/or deviant; non-Black women as clean, with dignity and worthy. We propose that these constructions serve to silence certain women and their health issues on the basis of race.