Women’s Resistance to Cyborg Adaptations
Medical and military research into the adaptation and re-engineering of organic (meat) bodies as platforms for cyborg organisms has been advancing rapidly at least since the 60s. As is usual, it is the male body that has been used as the standard human template for this research. In Cyborgs and Space for example, Manfred Clynes and Nathan Cline write: “Solving the many technological problems involved in manned [sic] space flight by adapting man [sic] to his environment, rather than vice versa, will not only mark a significant step forward in man’s [sic] scientific progress, but may well provide a new and larger dimension for man’s [sic] spirit as well.” (The Cyborg Handbook, p. 33) Historically, women’s bodies have been notoriously resistant to machinic adaptation or medical regulation. The unpredictable ebb and flow of menstrual cycles, hormones, moods, libido, weight loss or gain, metabolism, ovulation, pregnancy, gestation period, fertility, and natural birth rhythms, have severely tested scientific control and management methods.
The essential female function of reproduction has been the focus of intense medical intervention and control in the West at least since the birth of Christianity. In the last few decades of the 20th century the medical (male) control and advancement of reproductive technologies has been the subject of massive scientific research and development. Using human germ cells manipulated in the laboratory, reproductive scientists are now able to create genetically and scientifically engineered embryos to implant into human females. But the pregnancy and birth processes are still far less controllable although new methods are continually being tested.
In particular, the problem has been that pregnant and birthing women who are moving freely among the general population are hard to control and surveille at all times. While doctors try to regulate the lives, activities, and diets of their patients, women tend to be resistant to this form of control and many of them habitually disobey doctor’s orders and lie about what they have been up to. Add to that the spread of the practice of using surrogate mothers by infertile or older couples, women with health problems, gay couples, single men, and others. Increasingly, those who hire surrogate mothers are seeking the legal right to monitor and prescribe their lifestyles, diets, and activities. But how is this to be done without physically confining the woman, or having her followed at all times? Indeed, with declining birth and fertility rates, it is in the interest of all citizens to assist in the surveillance and protection of all pregnancies!
Until now doctors have lacked a foolproof and objective way of constantly monitoring their remote patients, as well as a way of treating them if they cannot be there physically. Thanks to exciting new developments in military battlefield medical research however, the technology has now been developed to solve these problems.