Gearing up for BOBB

ICAN of Greater Missoula is 6 days out from a benefit screening of THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN.  I fully admit that I am nervous.  We are a new non-profit in town and the first Montana chapter of ICAN!  I’ve never done this sort of work before . . . advocacy is a neat idea and always went into the “should do” pile that never quite got done.  I meant to ride my bike to the University this fall in order to decrease my carbon footprint.  I’m concerned about local wilderness issues.  I’m worried about global warming.  I wish there was something I could do to decrease the number of women around the world who are raped every day.

Ya know . . . little things.

So how has this evolved?  I’m sure I’m not the first activist to say . . . “Well, it just happened.”  Moreover it has to happen in this town at this time.  I don’t need to know why – I just need to see it through.

I’ve read a number of reviews about BOBB.  Today I came across a post about “twilight sleep” and childbirth.  The blogger writes:

On the ride home [from seeing the Business of Being Born], Rachel and I were talking about why childbirth isn’t more of a feminist issue.  In the movie, they talked about how we have almost third-world levels of mother and infant mortality and how that’s directly tied to how we do birth in this country, the medicines that are administered during labor, and the rush to c-section a woman just because she’s not progressing fast enough to suit the doctor.

I think it’s tough.  It is a feminist issue, of course.  Women getting dicked around by the system is always a feminist issue.

Childbirth and reproductive health issues should be at the forefront of feminist work.  It is shocking that the more powerful feminist groups aren’t giving American childbirth practices more attention.  The fact that 1 of 3 women are having babies taken out of them via major abdominal surgery isn’t interesting or relevant enough for most people to sneeze at?

Yes, often the most highly subverted populations and subversive issues have the most trouble breaking out of old cycles.  Look at other disasters that happen here and abroad.  Look at things like the Iraq war or the lack of Congressional and Presidential support for CHIP or Darfur or immigration issues and tell me, honestly, if you are surprised that nothing is changing.  Our President fully admits that he’s no longer concerned about bin Laden.  Hmm . . .

Here are a couple of things that are on my burner with regard to childbirth and feminism:

  • abjection and natural childbirth vs the sterility of cesarean “birth”
  • musical representations of Eve (as in the biblical Eve)
  • why miscarriage is so “hush hush”

2 thoughts on “Gearing up for BOBB

  1. Feminists have not taken on childbirth as one of their core concerns, because they have been bamboozled by the male-dominated obstetrical community into believing that their “choice” to be able to pick a cesarean section makes them modern, independent women. You can get artificially inseminated; you can have a scheduled cesarean; you can give birth vaginally, numb from the waist down… you don’t need a man to have a baby, you don’t have to be like “primitive”, “passive”, “submissive” women in other countries that are “forced” to undergo the pain and uncertainty of childbirth. You can control it, you call the shots… and the naive feminist community has eaten that up. How pathetic. The reality is that the more educated the women in this country are, the more they seem to be puppets in the hands of their care providers. Until we take back the REAL control of our bodies and stop trusting others to “show” us our options, instead of researching them for ourselves; until we reembrace our femininity (and our fertility is very much a part of that femininity) I don’t see us going anywhere.

  2. Phew, preach it sistah! Very good point, and I appreciate the comment very much. So in other words the feminists are playing into patriarchal subversion by overusing the technology? It goes along with the assertion (I first read about it in “Born in the USA”) that highly-educated women generally are at greater risk for interventive birth experiences. The more educated you are, the more likely you are to make use of male-driven devices and procedures – to trust medical expertise and technology over other forms of “knowing”. I need to start reading Robbie Davis-Floyd. I’m so interested to read anthropological perspectives on childbirth!!

    Thanks for making me think. As usual . . .

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