am i cyborg or goddess?

Posted: July 24, 2007 in All and Sundry, feminisms, Musings

maybe it’s karmic. maybe it’s just coincidence. but when i learned on monday that my paper abstract got accepted in a conference abroad, i decided to read again donna haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century found in the book”Simians, Cyborgs and Women,” which paul incidentally gave me twice. anyway, the uncanny incidence is not reading the book again monday night. but the succeeding events that happened.

the next day, after having read haraway’s essay the night before, i found myself in a clinic going through a pelvic ultrasound during which the female doctor casually informed me that there is something different about the position of my ovaries and uterus. (no need to elaborate here) i felt like a freak for a while. then it hit me. most of haraway’s works explores the “masculine bias” of scientific culture, which also involves the medical profession. it dawned on me that i haven’t really learned anything from haraway to prepare myself from the tyranny of a female doctor’s impersonal response to my condition. she even told me matter-of-factly that i will have difficulty getting pregnant right in the middle of the entire process when the ultrasound speculum (not sure if that’s the right term) was still inserted in my vagina.

the whole process is very invasive and painful. (again, i don’t have to elaborate)

what dawned on me was not a realization of an apparent understanding of the essences of my reproductive system that more often than not is used to define my identity and gender. what dawned on me was this nagging dilemma about the politics between naturalism and essentialism (the whole nature-culture divide) . inside the clinic, there was a moment when i found myself asking : “where am in in this whole debate?”

haraway says in cyborg manifesto that “There is nothing about being female that naturally binds women. There is not even such a state as ‘being‘ female, itself a highly complex category constructed in contested sexual scientific discourses and other social practices.”

for a woman from the “third world,” is it even feasible to beyond the politics of naturalisms and essentialisms as haraway suggests feminists should explore? i ask this since these questions matter in moments like this one–when i’m lying on the bed in a cold room, my feet in stirrups, a foreign object inside me, thinking that i should be getting this health service for free from my government instead of paying almost a thousand pesos to get my insides scrutinized.

then on my way home, faced with this reality of a considered “abnormal” uterus, i started to ask myself if i’d rather be a cyborg than a goddess. 

Comments
  1. […] am i cyborg or goddess? “Haraway says in cyborg manifesto that ‘There is nothing about being female that naturally binds women. There is not even such a state as “being” female, itself a highly complex category constructed in contested sexual scientific discourses…’” (tags: interesting cyborgmanifesto feminism women health healthcare) […]

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