GUEST WRITER, RIVKA EDELMAN
Sometimes I feel like such a stickler. I am not nitpicking when I say there was a mistake in the pages of The New York Times Fashion and Style section, piece, “And Baby Makes Three.”
We must fall on the side of intellectual honesty. That title should have read, "four," or "five," if one were to consider the actual human females involved in the production line of surrogacy these days.
The Times' telling omission reflects something ominous, the deep misogyny of a gay male community, which in turn has been accepted and championed by many people who consider themselves progressive.
More to the point, it demonstrates the total erasure of the female human that supplied the egg and the second female human in whose uterus the baby grew. It mirrors the blind eyes that society has toward marginalized women. Here both are factored out of the male equation and that concerns me. No less concerning is the reason—to obscure “motherhood” and deny the child a clear concept of mother.
No less chilling was the article’s placement in the Fashion and Style section in the first place. Which no doubt was done to deflect from what most people consider an important and serious topic—women’s and children’s basic human rights. The omission and the placement taken together crsytallizes the narcissistic glibness of the “new civil rights” movement, in which rights include a supply of marginalized women to provide gay men with offspring.
Of equal importance was the article’s timing.
In a rather cynical move the article appeared in time to support the overturning of the current law against selling babies in New York State, so that it might be replaced with new laws that allow women to be paid for the sale of babies.
The article strains in a clumsy attempt to argue that the old law is now archaic and was merely enacted through a fear-based overreaction to Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid's Tale.
And of course Atwood was so so wrong. Really? [Note from Editor ROL -- Atwood's novel was a dystopic narrative about a future world in which men use women as incubators to produce white babies. Which is exactly where we've arrived through several detours, as a result of a gay movement that didn't do enough introspection.]
It is good thing nobody took Orwell seriously. Now gay men and über-wealthy celebrities in their late 40’s have the civil right to use women’s bodies to reproduce. Somehow, if we do not streamline this womb to market commerce, we are committing another violation of their civil rights. And you were told way back when, in Women’s Studies 101, that traditional marriage was oppressive to women.
If you think a system that forced husbands to commit their financial and social resources to supporting the mothers of their children was oppressive, just wait until you see the glamorous new world of baby farming for men who have no interest in permitting women in any part of their lives because they claim they were "born" gay. You have not seen anything yet.
[Note from Editor, ROL: Have you noticed how now the highly wealthy straight families combine patriarchal marriage and the horrible treatment of women as breeders -- and now these are the families who have formed a strong allegiance to gay men like Ricky Martin and Neil Patrick Harris?]
All these taken together reiterate one clear message without nuance: There is no such thing as ethical surrogacy. But that is not the issue. The issue is equality. The uniformity of all marriages as the means to reproduce because by some magic hereto wit unknown random women of much less means now owe men access to their bodies.
The neo-liberals who raise their own little navel-gazers applaud while libertarians can’t sell women into slavery fast enough because to hear them tell it, it is our right to allow our bodies to be used.
Truthfully, there are only a few things I find more disturbing than glib white male entitlement: Ebola, anthrax, a rats' nest in the chimney. Many feminists have started to note that the gay rights movement has been able to do what many men have been hoping for, for the last 50 years. Bring back socially sanctioned misogyny into the moneyed enclaves of culture where the power brokers just want to dump their binders of women.
It is a win-win situation—brilliant, right?
Human rights violations against women and children will be framed as LBGT civil rights. And anyone that suggests that maybe people do not have rights to other people’s body or organs is a hater, a bigot, and a homophobe.
Well, that dog doesn’t hunt. I grew up in a gay household and I know the arguments better than I know the pledge of allegiance. So save it. All of it-- the missives, the threats. Don’t prove my point to people about loving the gay community. They will turn and tear their own to shreds in a heartbeat. Because the fragile narrative has to be protected at all costs. Family is a photo op. And children are props.
Let’s not kid ourselves about the cute photograph affixed to this New York Times article: That kid is not related to both of the “Daddies.” That child has been denied one parent so that men could prove that two men can play at baby-making—and ironically the men needed two women to do it.
The message, if you have not heard, is that marriage is about reproducing and the fact two men can’t is a form of discrimination (biological reality does not exist), which society must rectify—“even Steven”.
So here come the real test allies. We all danced at their wedding. Now who will turn over human females as breeders?
And it needs to be cheap. In their civil rights book they get to use 1-2 human females, including one to harvest eggs (she don’t lay them, honey!). The other is to gestate the baby that has been designed to obscure and erase motherhood and provide legal protection to the buyer.
We are talking here about an invasive procedure that requires ovulation stimulation, which does raise the risk of ovarian cancer. We must get the rest of the Big Apple on board to change New York State laws, so it is best to have a light touch, breezy prose.
But back to civil rights.
It is clear that the white man’s civil rights trump two females' human rights, the most fundamental right being not to be used as breeder animals. The article laments the fact that NY has laws about selling. Everything would be much easier if the buyer could purchase the product -- a baby -- locally because as Mr. Hoylman said in the interview some people "have to take out a loan.”
Oh, the horror: a loan combined with the utter inconvenience of having to fly the red-eye out to California when his contracted surrogate gave birth. This is something that must be rectified post haste through new laws that erase women and children’s rights.
True, I would have rather read a little breezy piece on Alexander MacQueen in the Style & Fashion section, but when you want to trivialize reproductive slavery, draw false equivalencies and gloss over erasing the basic human rights of women and children, what better way is there to present it than a child, or two (aren’t they to die for?) as the must-have fashion accessory for the well heeled very well tony urbane gay couple?
Make it stop. No, people. Children are not a right.