Hollywood Reproductions: Mothers, Clones, and Aliens

Part of the Schriftenreihe der Internationalen Frauenuniversität »Technik und Kultur« book series (SIFU, volume 6)


The mother always is more than one being alone: if there was no second one in her, she would not be a mother. This peculiarity is the condition of human reproduction and provokes desires for repulsion and symbiosis. Other types of reproduction bear less biased connotations, when one divides itself (like a cell), when one original produces several identical copies (a stamp, a negative) or when one by one a mirror image like/identical double is created (like in the case of DNA): in none of these modes one encloses the other, never are there two forming a unity. Starting in industrialised nations the more-than-unity of mother and child has been continually displaced since the 1960s, by sexual politics, medical reproduction techniques and new cultural icons: the pill, the first artificial insemination, IVF and surrogate motherhood were accompanied by pictures illustrating or re-editing the disentanglement of sexuality and pregnancy, biological and social parenthood as well as that of mother and child. On Lennart Nilsson’s famous photograph of a fetus (1965, fig. 1) floating in front of a dark background like in outer space the mother has disappeared, the artist renders visible the unborn life and this icon does not only reappear in women-free zones like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssee (1968, fig. 2), not only on posters of anti-abortionists (anti-pro-choicers), but could be regarded as an insignia of those western political and juridical discourses, which have been steadily reinforcing the rights of the fetus against its mother and her duties towards it and respectively the society ever since.


Science Fiction Cultural Theory Surrogate Motherhood Sexual Politics Cultural Icon 
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