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Exterminating Fetuses: Abortion, Disarmament, and the Sexo-Semiotics of Extraterrestrialism

Page history last edited by Air Dupaix 14 years, 4 months ago



 Zoe Sofia's treatise on manic militarism and politicization of the unborn fetus is not particularly concerned with Stanley Kubrick's  2001: A Space Odyssey's situation in formal cinematic history.  Rather, to Sofia, the film is an artifact- an encapsulation of the tenuous relationship between  human potentiality and nuclear finality, and the dichotomy that is presented by "extinction anxieties."  The article uses the film to investigate the symbolism of technology, and ultimately to reject the social-masculinist cooption of reproductive rights.  Sofia states, "[the film is an] aspect of an ideoloical apparatus which addresses extinction fears only to distract us from the exterminist practices of the military-industrial complex" (47). 



"The Cult of Fetal Personhood"  

The "New Right", or the Neo-Conservative movement that rose to prominence in the latter twentieth-century, promotes an agenda of both fetal personhood (meaning a strict moral condemnation of abortion in its entirety), and the rapid expansion of nuclear capability.  Sofia positions her argument in opposition to the problematic morality of said institution, namely its insistence that "it is morally inconsistent to condone abortion...while opposing nuclear weapons, which could bring about extinction" (47).  In the midst -or perhaps an extension- of such moralizing, 2001: A Space Odyssey presents the technological take-over of reproductive capacity in its cinematic reality, and forces the consideration of the consequences of such a union.


"The Masculinist Science-Fiction Horror Movie" 

In its tracing of human history, 2001: A Space Odyssey explores the relation between "tools" (or technology) and the human condition. "Technological devices [in science fiction] are frequently pictured as the spermatic tools and seeds which inseminate the hyperreal terrain [of space]" (48).  As demonstrated, Sofia dissects the symbological elements of the film, and of science-fiction as a whole, to establish the innately masculist qualities of the traversal of, in this case, outer space. By associating technology with "the over-rationalized masculinist consciousness" (48), 2001: A Space Odyssey acts as a representative for the masculine desire of reproductive capactiy removed from any element of the feminine.  The cerebrality of technology becomes the bugel for the destruction or removal of the feminine oppisitional, the bodily element of reproduction.  The illustration illuminates the mapping of the reproductive onto the technological landscape of space, which is in itself representative of the New Right's simultaneous attack on reproductive rights and the insistence on nuclear prominence.  This capacity of Kubrick's film is also demonstrated in the science fiction collapse of the future.  The film's repitition and treatment of time seemingly points to a static existence, one where the future is enacted in the past and present.  As Sofia artfully explains, the pro-life insistence on the status of "person" from the moment of conception creates its own static treatment of the future.  Progression and possiblity are replaced with certainty- which, when considered in the midst of nuclear insistence, becomes a certainty of extinction.



Read the article here .









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