The culturally constructed female body in early modern England was often both unstable and rapacious; its boundaries undefined and its hungers infinite. Women accordingly participated in and perpetuated the systems of social control that constructed and represented the body: women inspected and felt other women’s bodies, presided over childbirths and sickbeds, criticised other women’s behaviour, and enforced spatial boundaries. Humoural theory, Galenic medicine and social anxieties often combined in implicitly or explicitly negative representations of the female body, frequently centred in its appetites, uncontrollability, or reproductive potential. Women were undoubtedly vulnerable to physical and sexual assault from men: one has only to glance through church court records, stage tragedies. But nevertheless, the female body is not only constructed or experienced through violation, but through everyday instances of status and spatial negotiation. Women’s appropriate femininity could sometimes be predicated on a lack of open discussion of their own bodily experiences and functions.