Sunday, August 19, 2012

Feminist scientist: "If some animals can have babies without males, why can't humans?"

Arathi Prasad was born in Trinidad but now lives in London. She has written a book about artificial reproduction called Like a Virgin: The Science of a Sexless Future.

She takes a very positive view of the possibility that one day soon people will be able to have a baby by themselves using artificial wombs.

Why does this appeal to her? There seem to be two reasons. First, although she had a daughter as a single mother in her mid-20s, she is a career woman in her 30s with no man in sight and she would like to have a larger number of children and time is running out. She hopes that with artificial womb and fertilisation technology that women like herself could have children at any time and at any age:
I remember waking up one Saturday morning, on a bed with my daughter in my mum's loft, thinking, well, if some animals can have babies without males, why can't humans? So many women are like me, in their 30s, we do want our careers ... and we're looking for the right partner. And then you get older and it looks less likely to happen.

Why not try to get family formation right instead? Why not bring family formation back to people's mid-20s instead of leaving it so late?

I suspect one reason Arathi Prasad doesn't consider this possibility is that liberalism assumes that each person will pursue their own individual goals and respect or not interfere with other persons pursuing their own individual goals. That's OK when it comes to things like career or hobbies or travel. But it means that we can't make claims on others when it comes to relationships. We can't have expectations of how the opposite sex might behave in order to make timely family formation possible. So if that is ruled out, then the solution has to be something within our own individual control - such as using artificial reproduction techniques.

Here's another possible explanation. There are women who chafe at the idea of forming a family with an "ordinary" man they consider beneath them. They would rather operate solo, outside of marriage, in a less regulated sexual marketplace (which I think is one reason why feminists pushed for the sexual revolution). The advent of artificial wombs and new fertilisation techniques would widen the possibilities for such women to procreate outside of a relationship with a man.

The second reason why Arathi Prasad welcomes the new technology is that it would break down sex distinctions within the family. Motherhood would no longer be associated with womanhood:
If babies are gestated outside the human body, it would immediately disrupt all our notions about who should be the primary parent, and about male and female roles as a whole. "It would get away from that question of mother and father," says Prasad, "and instead become: what is a parent?"

...Someone pointed out to Prasad that men can produce milk too: "They've got mammary glands, and I haven't looked into this, but say that was possible, then you're really asking who is the mother, and who is the father? If you unhinge all of these things from their very basis, you'd have to rethink who does what."

And this:
"Why can’t a man be a mother?" she asks. "Why do we care so much about what it means to be a 'mother' rather than to be a 'parent'?

"By all reasonable estimates, in the near future we will conquer the tyranny of the womb."

She is so keen to collapse the distinction between fatherhood and motherhood that she looks forward to men breastfeeding and she talks about the "tyranny of the womb". The positive connotations that are normally associated with the womb, as the site of fertility and new life, are replaced with the idea of the womb as an agent of tyranny. It's another case of feminists degrading what is distinctly female, rather than celebrating it.

Why is Arathi Prasad so keen to collapse distinct sex roles in the family? It could be that she sees the motherhood role as an inferior one - an impediment to career - and so she wants the "hindrance" of it to be shared equally between men and women. Or perhaps she regards motherhood negatively as a biologically based role which conflicts with the liberal insistence that whatever is self-determined is superior to whatever is predetermined. Therefore, she doesn't like family roles to be associated with the predetermined fact of being biologically male or female.


  1. It's too bad she's running into the buzzsaw of another feminist project: destroying the viability of the sperm donor system by removing the privacy of sperm donors. That way mothers can slap the donors with child support orders, never mind that wasn't the deal they first agreed to. The obvious and should have been anticipated result is that men won't be sperm donors if they know they can receive a child support order. I wonder how this man-free utopia will happen without men's cooperation.

  2. I may never get married and have kids....but I'm not crazy enough to try to reinvent millions of years of god's design.

    It's disgusting. I don't think this is liberalism, this is atheism or worse.

  3. None of these sorts ever think about who will actually raise the kids. When some 90 year old guy fathers a child, he's sure not raising that baby. And that scenario is never as common as feminists seem to think it is.

    The more distant you get in the process from the carrying and bearing and raising of a child, the fewer people will bother with the process at all. Which is perhaps the logical end of the self-absorption governing mindsets such as this lady's.

  4. None of these sorts ever think about who will actually raise the kids.

    That's one thought that I had. She seems to be thinking "Well, I can have my brilliant career first and then when I'm 45 or 50 I can do the parenting thing".

    But the chances are that she (or any male partner) will find it much more daunting taking on the stresses and workload of raising children at this time of their lives.

    Also, as I've pointed out before, my wife looks back on her pregnancies as the best times of her life, despite the physical discomforts. She didn't think in terms of the "tyranny of the womb" at all - she didn't think of pregnancy as something to be liberated from.

    What the female scientist looks forward to represents a triumph of ideology, rather than something that ordinary women are calling out for.

  5. "randian said..."
    Ah you missed the next feminist project
    Feminists will just steal men's sperm if they don't give it up.

  6. So ... she's a loser (unable to attract a man), and because of that, she wants to change everything, genetics, biology, etc.

    It's just Revenge of the Nerds with undesirable aging females instead of adolescent boys.

  7. On the positive side, she's sort of admitting that as it currently is, human nature implies distinct gender roles. It's not just an arbitrary Christian conspiracy to privilege men, or something like that. But such is the perversity of the modern mind that when liberal ideology conflicts with human nature, it's human nature that's supposed to change.

  8. The irony is, she's only thinking these thought because she's under the tyranny of the womb. Thirty-year-old men who are single do not wake up one morning and dream of having motherless children.

    She says that once men start lactating, our attitudes about sex will change. But would't our attitudes about sex have to change before men would undergo whatever treatment necessary to induce lactation?

  9. In the animal world there is either only asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction. Humans are a species by which sexual reproduction is a huge component. Humans don't reproduce asexually and such things are alien to the human species. If you alter this feature of humanity, humans are no longer human but something else. They may become monsters, or some other entity, but they are not distinctly human anymore. You can't interbreed for example a pig and an eagle and still call it either a pig or an eagle. It's something else.

  10. It's another case of feminists degrading what is distinctly female, rather than celebrating it.

    In a twisted way, feminists are male supremacists (e.g. the higher role is male). Or do they suffer from female inferiority? Or is it just projecting something that they find attractive in men and putting it in themselves as women? If so I think they should realize that heterosexual men don't find other men/boys/etc attractive.

  11. According to W.L. George in his 1913 tract you linked to, even back then feminists felt this way. They just couldn't imagine artificial wombs, etc. (although by 1931 when Brave New World was written, these things were imagined). I actually think these feminists can change all of society to get to where they want to go, but why this great upheaval for just a few misfits (lesbians and masculine women)?

  12. For a scientist she certainly is dumb, last time I checked genetic diversity staves off destruction from disease.

    "Tyranny of the womb", sounds like penis envy all over again....

  13. "The same field of technology would enable gay couples to have children created from both their DNA,"

    Yaaaaay! Now I'm really excited! [/sarc]

    "Men and women could have an equal role in parenting, right from conception."

    Huh? The whole idea is for a "solo" parent - there's just ONE parent, not two, and if there's not two then the issue of whether or not roles are "equal" becomes moot.

    "I think the real question is, is the baby going to be healthy? If the answer to that is yes, and the mother is able to look after it, then who are we to say?"

    And with the other side of her mouth she will be arguing for government-funded maternity leave, day care, etc. etc. etc. precisely because single mothers CANNOT look after their children without external support.

    "If babies are gestated outside the human body, it would immediately disrupt all our notions about who should be the primary parent, and about male and female roles as a whole."

    Why have parents at all? Just raise them in a government creche!

    "Watching a child grow from a tiny cluster of cells, right through to birth, might result in a bond that was equally special, she suggests."

    Sounds unlikely.

    I liked this comment on the article at the Guardian - "Nothing to see here. This idea gets tossed about every few months by a sociopath feminist completely out of touch with reality." That's about right.

  14. If babies are gestated outside the human body, it would immediately disrupt all our notions about who should be the primary parent, and about male and female roles as a whole

    That's a lie. No notions will be disrupted. Feminists will always demand that women be considered the primary parent, and that the man's role is secondary, presuming they admit he should have any parental role at all other than wallet.

  15. "It's another case of feminists degrading what is distinctly female, rather than celebrating it."

    Feminists hate Women. To even suggest we have vagina's and can give birth disgusts them. They attack motherhood and anything feminine.

  16. Quite funny thing is that if artificial wombs were capable, something completely different would occur. All "marriage material" men and women will probably opt for artificial womb instead of risking with the lottery of:
    1. over 50% of divorce rates
    2. majority of children being raised by a single parent anyways
    3. all the stress involved with breakups.

    My guess is that men will tend to have way more incentives to do so, because laws and courts are certainly heavily biased against them, since 90% of them happen to lose custody fight and can only hope for "joint custody" or "more time with their child", while mother can manipulate that time frame again by various methods (moving to another town). Pay note that the parent who gets children to register living with them isn't just getting tax breaks but places a big burden of child support (and possibly even alimony if they don't work!), but on top of all - whoever wins the child custody also wins the house for himself (or herself) and court literally casts out the other parent. This is what happens to millions of people, predominantly being men in USA (and most of those people are still paying off the credit for their house that they're getting evicted from, due to "no fault" divorce), so i guess "marriage material" men will just opt for artificial wombs over time and that'll pull "marriage material" women as well.
    After all, people do marry for family, mostly. It's just that some people are egocentric and don't care about other party or children at all, it's all about themselves, "me myself and I" culture byproduct.

    Not many people would wish to go with crazy feminists and MRAs and they'd only have children in their hopes to "cheat their deaths". Such activists are predominantly NOT marriage material or parent material anyways. Those folks have children only because they hope they'll live through the lives of their children and they often produce same insecurities towards their children. some of them even insist to have a child of the same gender as they are (obsession to cheat death goes to another level), and if they get a girl or boy (different gender) - they're emotionally crushed.
    Compare it with the "marriage material" people who often have large(r) families, often as much as they can afford and still live comfortably, because they both put family (both their spouse and children) above anything else, and they see their jobs only as a source of income for their families.

  17. My guess is that men will tend to have way more incentives to do so, because laws and courts are certainly heavily biased against them

    I think you are mistaken. If artificial wombs were real the bias would not abate against men. Women would own children just as much as they do now, possibly even more. I assure you that "my body, my choice" will quickly be forgotten when it's no longer her body. It will simply become "my choice", the hypocrisy forgotten. Courts will naturally ratify this new state of affairs, because our culture always takes the woman's side of things even when the last rationale for doing so has disappeared.