Spaces of Resistance

Politics of Motherhood: Conclusion


Spaces of Resistance
by Azadeh Azad

>>> (Intro) -- (Part 1) -- (Part 2)
-- (Part 3) -- (Conclusion)


We have seen in this article how three interwoven ideologies - patriarchal, technocratic and capitalist – have colonized the spaces of motherhood in the 21st century Western society. Given the sexual division of labour, it is predominantly men who design reproductive technologies aimed at women. These technologies have little connection with women’s actual needs and can be harmful to their health and independence.

Since 1980s, feminist scholars and activists have begun a campaign of research and consciousness-raising as spaces of resistance to the new reproductive technologies. They have revealed the problematic social, political, and economic aspects of these technologies. Health risks of fertility drugs, the painful experience of submitting to the in vitro fertilization, and commodification and fragmentation of the spaces of motherhood, demonstrate that these technologies limit women to new unsafe choices. In the context of the foetal rights campaigns and the bid to produce ideal babies, these technologies might also impede women’s power to decline technological intrusions.

The short term purpose of feminists within the spaces of resistance is to stop or slow the production of technologies that aggravate the present gender discriminations. The strategies for slowing the production of technologies are: to encourage women to boycott them; to campaign against their public funding; to outlaw specific types of research, and to stop the opening of further in vitro fertilization clinics.

The strategies for stopping further development of reproductive technologies are: to challenge supporters of these technologies to prove the advantages of their machines; to create social space to say no and resist, as anti-nuclear groups have done; and to propose standards for the acceptance of technologies. Some examples of these standards are: social needs must be placed before profit; technology must be gratifying to work with, not fragmenting or alienating, and must bolster women's power over their own lives. It must leave decision-making to the community at large.

The long term purpose of the spaces of resistance is to shift the present imbalance of power between women and technocrats. Scientists and technicians could use their expertise according to women’s needs. Hospital employees could be whistle-blowers for the abuses of fertility drugs. Physicians could inform the public about the low degrees of success of in vitro fertilization and the ethical issues associated with research on foetuses. Researchers could avoid conducting further research into the development of new reproductive techniques.

The separation between technocrats and lay women need to be eliminated by valuing women’s wisdom along with technocrats’ expertise, and by putting at women’s disposal the resources to learn more scientific and technical knowledge about reproduction and assisted reproduction.

Feminist scientists, researchers and physicians could combine experience, resources, better safety guidelines, women's needs and interests, and experiences of techniques such as in vitro fertilization, to transform the purpose and use of the new reproductive technologies.




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more from Azadeh Azad
Anahid Hojjati

Azadeh jan, thanks for your reply

by Anahid Hojjati on

I changed my comment on this article thread since after reading this one, I went back and read the other ones in your series. Yes, you do note in one of your previous articles that there are individual benefits for some women as result of reproductive technologies.


Azadeh Azad


by Azadeh Azad on

Yes, I have written about the disadvantages of the new reproductive technologies, which I think override their advantages. However, you have made me aware that I should have written about their advantages as well, and more explicitly. Thank you. In previous segments, I have implied their benefits.



Anahid Hojjati

Dear Azadeh,

by Anahid Hojjati on

The reality of present day United States in east and west coasts urban centers is not like what you write. What you have written may be true for some other western countries and some backwards areas of United States.

Azadeh Azad

Dear Raoul

by Azadeh Azad on

Thank you. However, I don't expect receiving comments. Comments and their numbers have nothing to do with the quality of a work; in fact, the reverse can easily be observed :-) The purpose of this article and my other works is to have the readers ponder on various issues. Thanks again.





by Raoul1955 on

I enjoyed reading this piece as I have [enjoyed reading] other ones by you.  I am certain that many readers enjoy your posted material, but cannot add anything else to it, hence not too many comments.  I look forward to reading more articles by you.