Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

This is (Not) My Child: Surrogacy and Non-mimetic Literature

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2019), 96, (6), 611–626.

Abstract

Literature of the fantastic and dystopian literature has often explored reproduction as a means of control exercised by societies over their subjects and mainly over women. Although this issue has been analysed in some classic examples of science fiction such as Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley, Swastika Night (1937) by Katharine Burdekin or, more recently, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood, this article will examine the forms of surrogacy that appear in contemporary Hispanic texts. Stories by Elia Barceló, Claudia Salazar, Gemma Marchena, Gabriela Bustelo, Olga Fresnillo and Lina Meruane reflect on the meanings of these ‘delegated’ gestations, by means of natural or artificial wombs. In many cases, this form of maternity is an expression of subjugation to the hegemonic powers that be; in others, it serves as an effective weapon against the rulings of that same power.

La literatura fantástica y distópica ha observado en múltiples ocasiones los mecanismos reproductivos como una forma de control que las sociedades ejercen sobre sus miembros – principalmente las mujeres–. Aunque esta cuestión ha sido abordada por algunos relatos clásicos de la ciencia-ficción como Brave New World (1932), de Aldous Huxley, Swastika Night (1937), de Katharine Burdekin, o, más recientemente, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), de Margaret Atwood, el presente artículo se interesa por las formas de la gestación subrogada en textos actuales del ámbito hispánico. Los relatos de Elia Barceló, Claudia Salazar, Gemma Marchena, Gabriela Bustelo, Olga Fresnillo y Lina Meruane servirán para reflexionar sobre los significados de estas gestaciones ‘diferidas’, bien a través de úteros naturales, bien a través de úteros artificiales. En muchos de ellos, esta clase de maternidad expresa el sometimiento al poder hegemónico; en otros, se revela un arma eficaz contra los dictámenes de ese mismo poder.

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Armitt, Lucie (ed.), 1991. Where No Man has Gone Before: Women and Science Fiction (Padstow: TJ International). Google Scholar

Atwood, Margaret, 1985. The Handmaid’s Tale (Toronto: McLelland and Stewart). Google Scholar

Atwood, Margaret, 2017. ‘Margaret Atwood on What “The Handmaid’s Tale” Means in the Age of Trump’, The New York Times, 10 March. Available at: >https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/books/review/margaret-atwood-handmaids-tale-age-of-trump.html> [accessed 2 April 2019]. Google Scholar

Balaguer, María Luisa, 2017. Hij@s del mercado. La maternidad subrogada en un Estado social (Madrid: Cátedra/ Universitat de València). Google Scholar

Ball, Philip, 2012. Contra natura. Sobre la idea de crear seres humanos (Madrid: Turner). Google Scholar

Barceló, Elia, 2014. ‘2084. Después de la revolución’, in Mañana todavía. Doce distopías para el siglo XXI, ed. Ricard Ruiz Garzón (Barcelona: Fantascy), pp. 75–128. Google Scholar

Barr, Marleen S., 1993. ‘Suzy McKee Charnas, Zoë Fairbairns, Katherine Marcuse, and Kate Wilhelm Blur. Generic Conventions: Pregnancy and Power in Feminist Science Fiction’, in Lost in Space: Probing Feminist Science Fiction and Beyond (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press), pp. 81–94. Google Scholar

Burdekin, Katharine, 1937. Swastika Night (London: Victor Gollancz). Google Scholar

Bustelo, Gabriela, 2001. Planeta hembra (Barcelona: RBA). Google Scholar

Charnas, Suzy McKee, 1974. Walk to the End of the World (New York: Ballantine). Google Scholar

DasGupta, Sayantani. 2010. ‘(Re)conceiving the Surrogate: Maternity, Race, and Reproductive Technologies in Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men’, in Gender Scripts in Medicine and Narrative, ed. Marcelline Block and Angela Laften (Newcastle on Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing), pp. 178–211. Google Scholar

Davis, Marie Louis, 1995. ‘Sexuality and Reproduction in Dystopian Fiction’, Master’s thesis, McMaster University. Google Scholar

Desmet, Fran, 2010. ‘Female Perspectives in Dystopian Novels’, Master’s thesis, Ghent University. Google Scholar

DeStefano, Lauren, 2011–2013. Chemical Garden. 3-book series. (New York: Simon Schuster). Google Scholar

Ewing, Amy, 2014–2016. The Lone City (London: Walker Books). Google Scholar

Fernández-Lamarque, María, 2016. Espacios modernos en la literatura latinoamericana contemporánea: distopías y heterotopías (Buenos Aires and Los Angeles: Argus). Google Scholar

Ferrús, Beatriz, 2016. ‘Fruta podrida. La escritura descompuesta de Lina Meruane’, Rassegna Iberistica, 39.106: 325–36. Available at: >http://edizionicafoscari.unive.it/media/pdf/article/rassegna-iberistica/2016/106/fruta-podrida/art-10.14277-2037-6588-Ri-39-106-16-6.pdf> [accessed 2 April 2019]. Google Scholar

Firestone, Shulamith, 1970. The Dialectic of Sex (New York: William Morrow). Google Scholar

Fresnillo, Olga, 1993. ‘Feliz advenimiento’, Ciencia y Desarrollo, 108: Available at: >http://cfm.mx/?cve=631:69> [accessed 2 April 2019]. Google Scholar

Haraway, Donna, 1991. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women. The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge). Google Scholar

Kaplan, E. Anna, and Susan M. Squier (eds), 1999. Playing Dolly: Technocultural Formations, Fantasies and Fictions of Assisted Reproduction (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press). Google Scholar

Lefanu, Sarah, 1988. In the Chinks of the World Machine: Feminism and Science Fiction (London: The Women’s Press). Google Scholar

Marchena, Gemma, 2016. ‘La granja de sucedáneos’. [Blog – Biblioteca de relatos.] Available at: >http://archivorelatos.blogspot.com.es/2016/07/la-granja-de-sucedaneos-de-gemma.html> [accessed 2 April 2019]. Google Scholar

Meruane, Lina, 2007. Fruta podrida (Santiago de Chile: Fondo de Cultura Económica). Google Scholar

Meruane, Lina, 2014. Contra los hijos (México: Tumbona). Google Scholar

Mohr, Dunja M., 2005. Worlds Apart: Dualism and Transgression in Contemporary Female Dystopias (Jefferson: McFarland). Google Scholar

O’Neill, Louise, 2014. Only Ever Yours (London: Riverrun). Google Scholar

Patai, Daphne, 1985. ‘Introduction’, in Swastika Night, by Katharine Burdekin (New York: Feminist Press), pp. iii–xv. Google Scholar

Perkins Gilman, Charlotte, 1979 [1915]. Herland (New York: Pantheon Books [The Forerunner magazine]). Google Scholar

Piercy, Marge, 1976. Woman on the Edge of Time (New York: Alfred A. Knopf). Google Scholar

Reati, Fernando, 2006. Postales del porvenir. La literatura de anticipación en la Argentina neoliberal, 1985–1999 (Buenos Aires: Biblos). Google Scholar

Rich, Adrienne, 1980. ‘Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence’, Journal of Women’s History, 15.3: 11–48. Google Scholar

Rich, Adrienne, 1986. Of Woman Born. Motherhood as Experience and Institution (New York: W. W. Norton). Google Scholar

Salazar, Claudia, 2016. ‘Cyber-proletaria’, in Las otras. Antología de mujeres artificiales, ed. Teresa López-Pellisa (New York: DíazGrey), pp. 152–57. Google Scholar

Sarto, Ana del, 2012. ‘Los efectos en los estudios culturales latinoamericanos. Cuerpos y subjetividades en Ciudad Juárez’, Cuadernos de Literatura, 32: 41–68. Google Scholar

Segato, Rita Laura, 2016. La guerra contra las mujeres (Madrid: Traficantes de sueños). Google Scholar

Sibilia, Paula, 2009. El hombre postorgánico. Cuerpo, subjetividad y tecnología digitales (Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica). Google Scholar

Sinisalo, Johanna, 2016 [2013]. The Core of the Sun, trans. from the Finnish by Lola Rogers (New York: Grove Press, Black Cat). Google Scholar

Stolcke, Verena, 1998. ‘El sexo de la biotecnología’, Revista de Estudios Feministas, 6.1. Google Scholar

Vassallo, Clare, Victor Grech and Ivan Callus, 2017. ‘Infertility in Science Fiction as a Feminist Issue’, Science Fiction Research Association Review, 319: 4–9. Available at: >http://www.sfra.org/resources/Pictures/SFRA%20319.pdf> [accessed 2 April 2019]. Google Scholar

Walst, Simone Fenna, 2015. ‘Ficciones patológicas: la enfermedad y el cuerpo enfermo en Fruta podrida (2007) y Sangre en el ojo (2012) de Lina Meruane’, Revista Estudios, 31.2: 1–18. Available at >https://revistas.ucr.ac.cr/index.php/estudios/article/view/22670/24158> [accessed 2 April 2019]. Google Scholar

Wilhelm, Kate, 1976. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (New York: Harper & Row). Google Scholar

Filmography

Alien: Resurrection. 1997, dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Brandywine Productions; Twentieth Century Fox). Google Scholar

The Boys from Brazil. 1978, dir. Franklin J. Schaffner (Sir Lew Grade; Producers’ Circle; ITC Films). Google Scholar

Children of Men. 2006, dir. Alfonso Cuarón (Universal Pictures; Strike Entertainment). Google Scholar

Gattaca. 1997, dir. Andrew Niccol (Columbia Pictures; Jersey Films). Google Scholar

The Handmaid’s Tale. 2017–, TV Series, creator Bruce Miller (MGM Television). Google Scholar

The Island. 2005, dir. Michael Bay (Dreamworks; Warner; Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation). Google Scholar

The Lottery. 2014–, dir. Larry Yust (Landsburg; Picture Entertainment). Google Scholar

Never Let me Go. 2010, dir. Mark Romanek (DNA Films; Film4; Fox Searchlight). Google Scholar

Utopia. 2013–2014, TV Series, creator Dennis Kelly (Kudos Film and Television). Google Scholar

Alien: Resurrection. 1997, dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Brandywine Productions; Twentieth Century Fox). Google Scholar

The Boys from Brazil. 1978, dir. Franklin J. Schaffner (Sir Lew Grade; Producers’ Circle; ITC Films). Google Scholar

Children of Men. 2006, dir. Alfonso Cuarón (Universal Pictures; Strike Entertainment). Google Scholar

Gattaca. 1997, dir. Andrew Niccol (Columbia Pictures; Jersey Films). Google Scholar

The Handmaid’s Tale. 2017–, TV Series, creator Bruce Miller (MGM Television). Google Scholar

The Island. 2005, dir. Michael Bay (Dreamworks; Warner; Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation). Google Scholar

The Lottery. 2014–, dir. Larry Yust (Landsburg; Picture Entertainment). Google Scholar

Never Let me Go. 2010, dir. Mark Romanek (DNA Films; Film4; Fox Searchlight). Google Scholar

Utopia. 2013–2014, TV Series, creator Dennis Kelly (Kudos Film and Television). Google Scholar

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Details

Author details

Casas, Ana