The Fetus as an Icon of Nature: Ecofeminist Treatment of the Unborn in the Age of the Anthropocene

By Chia-wen Kuo.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Rosemary Ruether asserts in the discourse of reproduction, “Sexism and God-Talk,” that woman’s body is reduced to an “instrument of his [man’s] virility,” and woman as an icon of nature has been relentlessly exploited. Her womb is made to be subjugated to male interests. Here Western man mistreats Nature just as he exploits his woman. In 2014, Emer O’Toole of “The Guardian” protested that a “brain-dead Irish woman’s body is being used as incubator” of her rapist while the aborted or miscarried babies are reported to be incinerated as “clinical wastes” in the hospitals of United Kingdom. On the contrary, in Taiwan people believe the aborted fetus will continue to live in the spiritual world and haunt the mother who denies it a chance of life until she makes enough efforts to appease the fetus spirit (Moskowitz’s “The Haunting Fetus”). In ecofeminism, the image of woman as an icon of nature is often used to promote environmental protection while many ecofeminists praise Oriental philosophy for its alliance with Nature. Here the mother’s uterus is regarded as an internalized global space in the age of Anthropocene: Westerners should appease the deprived/wounded nature as Easterners do with their dead fetuses.

Keywords: Abortion, Ecofeminism, Nature

The Global Studies Journal, Volume 10, Issue 1, March 2017, pp.1-15. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 676.445KB).

Chia-wen Kuo

PhD Graduate, Department of English, Taiwan's National Cheng-chi University, Taipei, Taiwan


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