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Durga, Supermom, and the Posthuman Mother India

  • Sucharita Sarkar
Chapter

Abstract

As a phobic response, patriarchal discourse often images the mother as monstrous, especially any deviance from the culturally prescribed norms of motherhood. Advocating birth control as mother right, Margaret Sanger characterized the maternal body as a ‘breeding machine’. Technology and reproduction have always had an ambivalent and conflicted relationship. While radical feminists have seen technology-assisted reproduction as a liberating solution from the bondage of motherhood, Rosi Braidotti, in ‘Mothers, Monsters and Machines’, critiques the erasure of mothers by the ‘high-tech affair’ of the New Reproductive Technologies. In India, these technologies are often less about female choice than about male control, especially when manipulated to ensure male heirs. Then again, there is the ‘yummy mummy’, who uses any intervention, from surgery to surrogacy, to mutate her body to technologically perfected dimensions. Is she a prototype of the posthuman mother, and what are the feminist responses to this phenomenon? Shifting from the ‘experience’ to ‘image’ of mothering, the Indian mass and social media has widely circulated the image of the ‘supermom’ a mutated, mythic, multiple-armed, multitasking being who is effortlessly capable, with a little help from an assemblage of machine servants, of negotiating parallel universes of home, self and work. How is this domestic goddess related to the cyberfeminism of Donna Haraway, who declared she would rather be a cyborg than a goddess? How do ‘real’ mothers respond: with hope, conformity, mimicry, anxiety or resistance? Can she choose to be a supermom, or is the futuristic image coercive?

Keywords

Assist Reproductive Technology Cosmetic Surgery Medical Tourism Maternal Body Surrogate Mother 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.D.T.S.S. College of CommerceUniversity of MumbaiMumbaiIndia

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