Reproductive Technology, or Reproductive Justice?: An Ecofeminist, Environmental Justice Perspective on the Rhetoric of Choice
Abstract:Configurations ("The official publication of the Society for Literature and Science")
This essay develops an ecofeminist, environmental justice perspective on the shortcomings of “choice” rhetoric in the politics of women’s reproductive self-determination, specifically around fertility-enhancing technologies. These new reproductive technologies (NRTs) medicalize and thus depoliticize the contemporary phenomenon of decreased fertility in first-world industrialized societies, personalizing and privatizing both the problem and the solution when the root of this phenomenon may be more usefully addressed as a problem of PCBs, POPs, and other toxic by-products of industrialized culture that are degrading our personal and environmental health. The NRTs’ rhetoric of choice is implicitly antifeminist: it blames the victim by attributing rising infertility rates to middle-class women who delay childbearing while struggling to launch careers; it conceals information about adverse health effects and solicits egg donation and gestation services from women disadvantaged by economic status, nation, and age; and it offers no choice at all for the millions of female animals—chicks, cows, turkeys, pigs, and others—whose fertility is regularly manipulated and whose offspring are commodified as products for industrialized animal food production. An intersectional analysis shifts the discourse away from reproductive choice to a framework of ecological, feminist, and reproductive justice.
The Cloud of Unknowing
The author presents a case of self-organizing daimonic mythopoiesis. The spiritual tourist, entheogenic experimenter, and the painter enfold a matrix of inter-developed "sorties" into the allotropic differentials of the autopoietic process. Fieldwork in Mandi, Himashal Pradesh, India provides an introduction to the virtualities of the peripersonal as it manifests in a "darshan" or self-showing of the goddess where the velocity of the psychopomp's body approaches pure phase-space. The immersive space of the peripersonal is further revealed in the author's absorption within the wire-frame virtualities of currently available three-dimensional modeling programs. Parallel work is conducted through experimentation with Animita muscaria, a traditional entheogen revered in various cultures. Possibly the ancient Soma of the Vedic scriptures, the mushroom provides occasion for somatic dissociation within which phenomenological data is gathered. Use is made of the phenomenological method of introspection, which more literally becomes a driving inward of the homuncular eye along a trajectory of the cine-somatic gaze through an introjected, intra-corporeal immersive scene. In the conclusion, this ancient "gaze of the clinic" is deemed useful to current research, as corporeality and the politics of peripersonal space enter new technological and juridical frames of reference in relation to agency, identity, and the state.