Brandy Schillace writes for Wired Magazine about how pregnancy should be untethered from motherhood. Her piece reads like someone who has either never encountered Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World or, if she has, thought it was proscriptive. It’s a Judith Butler fantasy world writ large, with reproductive organs being separated from an unwanted reality.
And yet woman and mother are not, nor have they ever been, synonymous. In fact, neither term has any objective reality at all.
Motherhood, like gender, is a social construct; “it exists because humans agree that it exists.” We create constructs as a means of ordering the world and attempting to control it. They are useful for organizing our thoughts; they become extremely dangerous when we mistake them for reality.
Who would have thought that acknowledging motherhood could be dangerous? Eventually, in the world that Schillace envisions, it would be a case of life imitating art: Humans would be as disgusted at the natural course of childbirth and rearing as the characters that populate Huxley’s novel.
When I brought this article up to my mom, she thought it was best not to spend too much time worrying about what fringe thinkers postulate. I'm not so sure, though. Modifying the fundamental building block of humanity — reproduction — could have dire consequences. Alan Noble expresses my concern well in this tweet.