Of Androids and Fossils: (Re)Producing Sexual Identity in Blade Runner and Jurassic Park
With the shift from industrial to postindustrial capitalism, our culture has become increasingly concerned with the problem of how to represent subjects in a technologized world. Traditionally, dominant conceptions of the subject have relied on Western metaphysics; naturalized monolithic categories arranged in hierarchic binary oppositions: male/female, human/machine, subject/object, etc. In this system, the discourse of science maintains an isomorphic and mutually reinforcing relationship with the discourse of heterosexuality, since each posits an active, masculine subject and a passive, feminine object. However, the sciences of contemporary capitalism are marked by technologies of reproduction and simulation which transform the world into a web of interconnected, overlapping information codes, asking us to reconsider our "natural" binary distinctions. While these questions have sparked a lively debate concerning technology and the representation of "naturally" gendered bodies, there has been less discussion about the specific ways in which the term "reproduction" links the discourses of science and gender. Reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization, test tube conception, and genetic manipulation challenge our concepts of human reproduction, transforming bodies from unified organic units to strategic and manipulable systems. Furthermore, these new ways of thinking about human bodies undermine the biological justification for traditional heterosexual gender identities: if all reproduction is redefined as technological, then normative or "natural" gender roles must be reconsidered as well.
Understandably, this denaturalization of bodies provokes a great deal of both hope and fear about the status of gender relations. Borrowing from Donna Haraway, I argue that contemporary narratives explore this ambivalence though the metaphor of the cyborg, the...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document