Women and Cyborgs: Objectification for All
The discussion between natural and unnatural, especially in relation to a woman’s purpose, frustrated me. On page 116, it was stated that a woman who conceives is essentially a goddess. Although this is a primitive way of thinking, it still holds true today. There’s an assumption that the only function of a woman is giving birth. A woman is seen as less than for either not being able to conceive or not wanting to conceive. Just because women can give life doesn’t mean their value is inherently connected to the usefulness of her uterus. “Unnatural” is disrespectful to the countless amounts of women who are infertile or without a uterus. This idea is rooted in sexism and transmisogyny. And to take it further, it can be rooted in racism, since for years, people of color were victims of forced sterilization and awful eugenic practices.
When I was sixteen I had a hysterectomy (uterus-removal procedure) due to numerous health problems. Every time someone finds out, they’re automatically sad about my dooming inability of birthing my own children and curious about how I’m going to have kids in the future. It doesn’t matter that I don’t even want kids. My worth as a woman is paralleled to my ability to conceive, even by well-meaning people. The concern for my health and why I had to have a major operation should be the where their energy is focused. But instead it’s focused on nonexistent babies and my expected path to motherhood. In these moments, I do feel like a machine and a commodity, even though that’s not their intent. It’s important to discern intent from impact, though.
The impact sometimes outweighs the intent. This goes for Yod, too. Being called “it” is, for lack of a better word, dehumanizing. We say “it” for things uncomfortable to us, or out of the ordinary, or maybe something we don’t like. “It” allows a disconnect from what or who is being described and any emotional appeal. If we can name and gender our cars, mostly feminine names (albeit a sexist rhetoric linked in the history of objectifying women), and call these objects our “babies,” we can do the same for humanoid cyborgs.
Piercy, Marge. He, She, and It: a Novel. New York, Knopf, 1991.