The Shouty Woman

February 15, 2007

Talking Foetuses

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 10:59 pm

Below is the text of a letter I have just sent to Channel 4 to complain about this programme

“Dear Sir/ Madam,

I am writing to complain about the programme ‘Miracles In The Womb’, which was shown tonight (15th Feb) on Channel 4. While the footage used in the programme was fascinating, the voice-over was misleading in its descriptions of the foetuses as ‘fighting’, ‘kissing’ and ‘playing’ with each other. Foetuses at the stage of development shown do not have the mental capacity knowingly to interact in these ways, and the programme did not make this clear.

The sentimentalisation of the gestation process was made worse by the appalling poetry, which seemed to imply that foetuses have thoughts, feelings and personalities, and resembled the propaganda put out by the ‘pro-life’ movement. Although it was not intended to be entirely serious, the portrayal of unborn babies as fully conscious, thinking beings simply gives ammunition to those who want to restrict women’s right to abortion. How many women facing the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy will have been confused and distressed by this programme?

The gestation and birth of babies is fascinating enough without the addition of this disingenuous and misleading rubbish.

Yours faithfully…”

What could have been a fascinating piece of television ( it followed the conception and gestation of multiple pregnancies) was ruined by the portrayal of foetuses as miniature people, complete with behaviour such as fighting and kissing. At no point did the voiceover explain that you can’t kiss without feeling affection, and that a foetus of five months’ gestation is not capable of emotions. Even worse was the ‘poetry’ – as a poetry lover, I hesitate to use the term – depicting the foetuses as having actual personalities. It was disturbingly reminiscent of those pro-life propaganda pieces written from the point of view of an unborn ‘baby’.

Channel 4 likes to portray itself as progressive and liberal, so I don’t know what it was thinking when it commissioned this crap. I await their response with interest.



  1. Oh, dear. Anything that involves fetal poetry, is probably not for me.

    Comment by Veronica — February 16, 2007 @ 11:00 pm |Reply

  2. at least they didn’t hang them up as Christmas tree decorations:

    Comment by belledame222 — February 17, 2007 @ 4:37 am |Reply

  3. Sounds awful. Good for you for writing, post the reply up, won’tcha?!

    Comment by Laura — February 19, 2007 @ 11:44 am |Reply

  4. Laura – Sorry to leave a comment but there’s no email contact information for you, as far as I can tell.

    You might want to clear out Sarah Parry’s comments, or at least de-link her comments. There’s one on your “About” page.

    Totally up to you, of course.

    Comment by Melinda Casino — February 19, 2007 @ 10:49 pm |Reply

  5. Melinda – it’s Lucy actually 🙂 Laura’s over at I’m Not A Feminist But…

    Thanks, will get rid of Sarah’s comments. I removed the link to her site already but forgot she’d commented here too. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Laura – will definitely post the response from Channel 4 if I get one!

    Comment by Lucy — February 19, 2007 @ 11:27 pm |Reply

  6. Oh I beg your pardon! I’m sorry about that. 😦

    I wouldn’t mind except the Snap! preview is on… anyhow it’s your blog, do what you’d like, I just wanted to let you know…

    Best – Melinda

    Comment by Melinda Casino — February 19, 2007 @ 11:34 pm |Reply

  7. ? why get rid of her comments? i know she took down her blog, but…

    Comment by belledame222 — February 21, 2007 @ 12:43 am |Reply

  8. Because her blog has been taken over by porn, and it shows up in the Snap preview thing if you click on the site name in her comments.

    Comment by Lucy — February 21, 2007 @ 9:33 am |Reply

  9. Hello. I’ve just found your blog and YOU ROCK!

    Comment by Erika — February 22, 2007 @ 12:10 am |Reply

  10. Aw, thanks Erika!

    Comment by Lucy — February 22, 2007 @ 5:13 pm |Reply

  11. Shoutywoman,

    I know how you feel. It is utterly dispicable for Channel 4 to depict foetuses as humans, as though they have the same DNA or vital organs as you or I.
    Channel 4’s gross irresponsibility can be judged by the amount of deluded heavily-pregnant women walking around with dreamy expressions on their faces and stroking their tummies as though what they are carting around is a baby, rather than say, a beanbag, or worse, an enormous, potentially dangerous fibroid.
    A liberal and progressive channel should never allow itself to carry such dangerous propaganda ever again and should only ever discuss human foetuses in such a way as to make clear that they are not human, abortions won’t harm the little buggers anyway and that anyone who disagrees with these propositions is the kind of moronic sub-human who should never have been allowed to be born.

    Comment by Maria — March 6, 2007 @ 2:50 am |Reply

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