Pill Panopticon 

By Katie Masters.

Katie Masters

“In this image, the pills are arranged in the formation of the panopticon. This 'perfect prison' consists of cells around a central watchtower, from where inmates cannot tell whether they are being watched at any given time. Thus, they behave as though they are being watched all of the time and effectively watch themselves.”

"I employ the panopticon in order to describe the way in which women learn to self-monitor their behaviour/appearance and how this might manifest as social anxiety disorder. Conversely, the outer pills represent society, watching, and the centre pill represents the socially anxious woman. This pill is halved to indicate the 'split' in her sense of self. This forms a 'real-self', which is who the woman feels herself to be, and a 'false-self': a mask which is adopted such that the 'real-self' is protected from negative evaluation and can thus function in society.

The pills are Sertraline, an antidepressant commonly prescribed for social anxiety disorder. Thus, the image also shows the socially anxious woman as being imprisoned by the pills." 

Katie Masters is a postgraduate researcher in the School of Modern Languages.

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