Saturday, January 05, 2008

More opinions on "Reproductive Outsourcing"

I think Feministe does a much better job of saying what I meant about the recent India surrogacy boom. Here's where they really hit it:

If we’re going to do the surrogacy thing — and we already are doing it — then let’s call it what it is: An exchange of money for services. And let’s not pussyfoot around the fact that in a whole lot of service industries, the people providing services are poor, female and brown. Think of housekeepers, fieldworkers, childcare providers, elder-care workers — all of these women use their bodies in the service of others. Many of them are exploited, some are abused, and most are under-paid. But we only go into panic mode when the services provided are sexual.

But the article took it to the next, more important step:
Rich white American women paying poor women of color in developing nations to gestate their children for them seems wrong. I don’t oppose reproductive technologies, but it gets trickier when you’re paying someone in a far less privileged situation to be a human incubator for you. I have to roll my eyes at the way surrogacy is framed in order to fit in with acceptable constructions of femininity — women are surrogate mothers because they love being pregnant, not because they need to make money and pregnancy is a pretty good way to do that. Addressing the poverty issue would require us to actually look at who is getting ahead and at whose expense, and that doesn’t tend to go over so well. Addressing surrogacy as one service industry among many wherein the bodies of poor women of color are used to further the wants of wealthier white people would require us to look at the systematic racisms and inequalities that prop up the entire global economy. And that definitely does not go over so well.

Very nicely put.

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