Angels of Power and other Reproductive Creations
Spinifex Press, 280 pp, $14.95 pb
In The Dialectic of Sex, published in 1970, the feminist Shulamith Firestone argued that the inequality between the sexes results from the different reproductive functions performed by women and men. In having to go through pregnancy, childbirth, and breast-feeding, women are dependent on men for support. The natural reproductive functions performed by females are not only enslaving women, they are also barbaric in themselves. ‘Pregnancy is barbaric’, Firestone argued, and women should be freed from the ‘tyranny of reproduction by every means possible’. Just as contraception had already been a liberating force for women, so would other new reproductive technologies. Firestone envisaged that ectogenesis – the growth and development of a foetus outside the womb – would be the answer for women, as long as ‘improper control’ was not exercised by men.