Now We Are No Longer 12

I was walking home from class thinking about the upcoming IUI, and how it has to be timed according to my cycle (which I have no control over), and wondering how it’s all going to work out, and whether T (aka the Bear) is going to have to make an unplanned 7-hour drive to deliver his contribution in the middle of the week, when it hit me – it’s really sex by machine. Industrialization has reached its fingers into even this intimate realm.

Don’t get me wrong; I use industry-produced computers, cars, cell phone, etc. all the time; even books – those wonderful analogue anachronisms – are available to me cheap because of industrialization. Rah rah for the Industrial Revolution. But, being a Romantic and Marxist at heart, I have to hold it all rather lightly…

(A friend of mine here actually wrote a paper for class on ART as alienated labor, it was quite fascinating.)

But anyway, my point was, I had to ask myself why it feels so alienating and alienated, and thought back to those dimly-remembered years when my friends and I started getting curious about “where do babies come from,” and how, after some hemming and hawing, the story we got was the one we all know, that when a man and woman love each other very much, he — well, y’all know how it goes. This was the ONLY story we got.* This becomes the metanarrative. ANY deviation is then seen as aberration; as deviant.

This is a problem.

Let’s not pass it on to the next generation.

*Actually in my case, I found a copy of “Now We Are 12” on a friend’s bookshelf, but I already knew the “facts of life” since I’d looked up “sex” in the encyclopedia when I was 9…yeah, I was kind of a nerdy kid!

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2 Responses to “Now We Are No Longer 12”

  1. Susan Says:

    Yes. When my four year old niece asked my how the baby got in my belly, I was so tempted to explain the entire IVF process to her.

    You know what would be a great post? How to explain it to a child. How to include ART in the conversations adults have with children and young adults about reproduction.

    That’s a challenge!

  2. Zee Says:

    Ah, the metanarrative of “where babies come from.” That’s a huge one. I’m with you in that I find the whole “sex by machine” thing vaguely icky–yet, at this point, if it might get us a baby, I’m willing to not think about it too hard and just be grateful we have the options.

    Vikingboy, on the other hand (another anthropology grad student, by the way) is really wrapped up in the “natural” vs “cold and clinical unnatural” thing. It makes the whole process that much more challenging, as you can imagine.

    And you’re right: we need to change the metanarrative for procreation, just as it’s being changed for love and for families. There are so many different versions of all these things, and they all need to have a place in our understanding.

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