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Unnatural Mothers, Mothering Unnaturally: Technologies of Reproduction and the Politics of Maternity in Hiromi Goto's "Hopeful Monsters"
Ruthven, Andrea
Universitat de Barcelona
Through scientific discourse and reproductive technologies, the reproductive body and the maternal body continue to be constructed as ‘natural’. At the same time,these technologies have begun to blur the boundaries between what is consideredan acceptable reproductive body, and consequently an acceptable maternal body,and an unnatural or a socially undesireable one. As science purports to offerwomen greater control over how and when they choose to procreate, through methods which range between delaying or eliminating the possibility of contraception to those which extend the possibility of conception to postmenopausal or infertile women, these same procedures raise questions about thenature and ‘naturalness’ of reproduction. Added to these concerns are thesuitablility of the reproductive body as a maternal body. Consequently, and moreand more frequently, bodies which defy ideals about maternity and motherhoodemerge, and questions about what it means to mother are raised. Bodies whichcontest the construction of motherhood as natural are frequently represented asmonstrous or freakish, and the debate between science and nature is heightened.Hiromi Goto’s short story ‘Hopeful Monsters’ resists the construction of the‘natural’ maternal body by highlighting the way in which women’s bodies areshaped by scientific discourse. In turn, images of ‘monstrous’ mothers emerge andare challenged, suggesting the need to reimagine what it means to mother and whatit means to be a mother. Through reading a selection of the stories this paper willinterrogate possible alternatives to constructions of the ‘natural’ maternal body and motherhood, suggesting that the Goto’s ‘monsters’ are perhaps only monstrous as a result of scientific discourse which constructs them as such.
Estudis de gènere
Gender studies
Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2010
Inter-Disciplinary Press

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