But then the Los Angeles Times ran some stories on the background of of the mother and the reproductive ethics of the case, and it's all turned out to be something of a tragedy of social commentary. Ms. Suleman is by no means a typical candidate for the aggressive fertilization she received, and her personal life - including six children already - has raised all kinds of questions of impropriety, to say the least.
I wasn't hip on the feminist angle, however. Via Robert Stacy McCain, it turns out the radical feminists have been silent on the ethics of Ms. Suleman's case, what Darleen Click calls "an unethical abdication of responsibility."
Darleen links to Amanda Marcotte's post at Pandagon, "Not a Biological Clock Gone Haywire," which is worth reading for insight into the mindset of today's feminism. Even better, though, is this essay on Michelle Duggar (a mother of 18 and the subject of a reality show on TLC) over at Women’s Space, "Why is Michelle Duggar Fair Game?":
On Jan 26 when Kaiser Permanente announced the arrival of surviving octuplets the story has run from increasingly creepy details and outrage about the mother to sudden articles about ethical concerns. It has been interesting to note what, or who, has been fairly quiet on this event.
The radical feminist (aka Vagina Warrior) blogsphere.
Ace noted the lack of commentary, figuring since there was no male villain in the piece there was little for the VW’s to focus on.
But hints of what is really the core issue for VW’s - who have no problem with nasty mockery of Michelle Duggar - can be found with series of entries on Slate’s XX (as in female chromosome) blog space and then confirmed by Salon’s Judy Berman who curiously posits …Meanwhile, feminists are asking serious questions about what Suleman and her octuplets mean for the future of women’s health.
… then immediately focuses on law and questions of racism.Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women — “What I would check if I had the time is the extent to which coverage of this story — whether negative or positive — is framed as a question of ethics. When the pregnant woman is not brown or black and the drugs/technologies are provided by big pharma, the discussion focuses on questions of ethics. But if the issue is childbearing by low-income women of color, and the drug is homegrown/ illegal then the debate is a question of punishment through the criminal justice or civil child welfare system.”
I think it might be a worthwhile exercise to do some thinking on why it is that Michelle Duggar seems to be fair game for pretty much everyone, including for feminists. It’s open season on the woman – mock her, make fun of her hair, her appearance, her clothes, her body, her reproductive organs, other of her internal organs, her vagina, attack her, depict her as a pig, call her brainwashed. (If you haven’t seen this, then look here for the latest, also here, here, here, and sadly, here and be sure to read the comments.) ...Long discussion of other cultures, with pictures, then ...
Instead of scapegoating this one woman and targeting her as though she is the enemy, why not make it our business to critique the real enemy – systems and institutions of male heterosupremacy which make the choices Duggar and women like her have made the best deal they feel they can cut?I thought I kept up with this stuff ... whew!