Julie Gillis thinks birth control and reproductive rights are men’s issues as much as they are women’s.
I love fiction. I love science. I love science fiction. It would be easy to love science fiction because it shows us a world that could exist (aliens! dystopias! interstellar travel!), but I love science fiction because it actually shows us what we are really anxious and concerned about NOW, here, in our current world.
Science fiction authors are fantastic at picking up on the fears and dreams of a current culture and either manifesting them in an alternative world much like ours, or creating mirror narratives in worlds completely different (but with those same dynamics at play).
Something we’ve been anxious about for about 100 years?
Reproduction, the role of the state, control of the body through science such as pharmaceuticals, eugenics, but also through religion.
I saw this post, What Does Science Fiction Tell Us About The Future of Reproductive Rights, over at Jezebel, read it, and due to the interesting and very intense commentary on posts like We Are Pregnant and Once A Babysitter Always A Babysitter and felt it might be a good blog post for us here at GMP.
With examples from male and female science fiction authors, times ranging from turn of the century to recently, and foci on both pro-life and pro-choice, the range of books is stunning and I see a theme.
Reproduction causes intense anxiety. Who gets to control it? Who gets controlled by it? And this is a theme in all the books listed in the article. But the author poses an interesting and compelling question on top of the theme of reproductive rights anxiety:
“All the stories I’ve discussed up to this point focus on reproductive rights as an issue that centers basically on conception. Mostly, they ask: Who controls how we have babies, and who says what kinds of babies we can have?
But I would argue that the real issue lurking beneath the surface of those questions is a single, stark query: Who is responsible for raising children?”
Who indeed. Certainly we at GMP are struggling with issues of parenthood, rights, equity, and more. And the books throughout the article show us mirrors of those fears, wrestling matches, and concerns. This is a men’s issue as much as women’s. We share DNA, we need to share parenting. Given the acceptance of LGBT families, it’s a human issue.
I’m certainly curious to see what fiction is created our reality, but I’d far rather make sure our reality finds a way to deal with these issues with collaboration and peace. Is that science fiction, my dream? Maybe. But I’ll live in reality and support finding those happy endings where I can.
What can we learn from them as they are fiction? Can we learn to avoid dystopic endings? Can we find ways to write new stories in our real lives that have happier endings? Do we write these books to help us avoid the bad endings?
Photo Courtesy of brains the head