Intersectional Identities and Reproduction

Traditionally, the way of life by the members of any given community is forged based on the identity of the members of the society. Since humans are social beings whose existence is characterised by the social interactions on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, work, migration, religion, religion, and other forms of interactions, they form intersecting identities being a part of their lifestyle in the communities where they live. These identities define the expectation of the members of the communities about the individual members of the society in terms of their achievements and other aspects of life. The intersectional identities formed though social interactions among different groups of people determine their lifestyles in terms of gender roles, in this regard there are specific expectations on men and women, especially regarding the case of reproduction. Therefore, intersectional identities have direct and indirect bearing on the reproduction and the experience of both male and female members of the society, which affect the social determination of the reproduction.

In the modern world, women have a lot of freedom that comes with self-fulfilment. In this regard, women have the ability to choose the route they want to follow to maximise on their potential. In the modern societies, women have access to education as well to the workforce and many of them have become the professionals in various fields (De Vries 2012). Women have been able to make an impact on various areas of the society including in the political field, sports, and large multinational organization (De Vries 2012). Following professional and social ladders, women have been able to forge unique identities that have been moulded by the intersection of various social identities. There are different ways in which the intersectional identities affect the experience of reproduction in various societies. These effects have different impact on the lives of men and women and at the same time they affect the way the society views reproduction based on the norms and the culture formed though these identities. 

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Reproduction in the modern society is viewed in a form of parenting, which is mainly linked to motherhood and fatherhood. In the modern world, people from different ethnicities, religions and cultures, and races live together and borrow cultures and norms from each other; these cultures have greatly helped in shaping practices in the societies where people live (Shirani, Karen & Coltart 2012). Whether these interactions are provided through physical interactions or through technology which has made the world a global village, the end result is that they lead to the intersectional identities that have shaped many things including the aspect of becoming a parent in the modern world.

Traditionally, in many societies, parenthood meant that a woman had to get pregnant with her partner and give birth to a baby whom the male and female members of the society were expected to raise. In the modern times, however, the concept of parenthood has changed a lot thank to the intersecting identities (Shirani, Karen & Coltart 2012). The concept of child adoption has allowed people who are unable to give birth to children and even those who do not want to give birth in the natural manner to be able to have their own children and still be considered parents (Herrera 2013). In this regard, one can decide to adopt a child as a single parent and raise him/her without the society looking at them in awe. Intersecting identities, especially in the society where women are highly educated and successful such as the western countries, have in this regard given reproduction a whole new meaning concerning parenting as it allows the male and female members of the society to have the pleasure of being parents without necessarily having to get pregnant and give birth (Wallace, 2010). Modernity has therefore brought a new dimension to parenting.

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It is important to note that despite the intersecting identities, especially those brought through modernity allowing some level of freedom, the traditional notion about parenthood still remains strong and, as such, there is a lot of pressure, especially on the female members of the society to have their own children (Jacobs 2009). The pressure is normally experienced through close relatives and spouses who feel that the only way to be a proper parent is to have an own child. Men or husbands also tend to put a lot of pressure on the females or their wives to have children based on the belief that one can only prove that he is a man by having his own children (Jacobs 2009). On this basis, the pressure on women is normally too high with regard to the reproduction to the extent that women are forced to get pregnant and give birth, even if they are not willing to do so.

The pressure of parenting through giving birth and not adoption is higher among African American women than white women. African American married women undergo a lot of social pressure that is based on the attitude of the members of the society which makes them feel the need to have their own children to feel that they are parents (Jacobs, 2009). White women on the other hand can embrace adoption and still consider this as a part of reproduction, because it is acceptable among the whites, and the pressure from members of the society is not too high (Jacobs 2009). Therefore, race and social status have a huge influence on reproduction.

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Modernity has also brought with it the ways of reproduction that have been received by mixed reactions depending on one’s cultural identity. However, through interaction of the identities, these new forms of reproduction have become acceptable. Surrogacy is one such modes of reproduction. In the west, surrogacy has become widely acceptable as women are allowed to carry pregnancy for other women (Hochschild 2015). In such settings, the fact the child is born through a surrogate mother does not change the fact that the child belongs to the parents who intended to have him or her. Surrogacy as a mode of reproduction has been used in the USA for many years and has allowed couples who are incapable of having children in the normal way to be parents. Surrogacy also allows same sex couples to get children (Hochschild 2015). As a way of reproduction, it has been adopted in different societies based on the technological interactions brought about by the intersectional identities.

Surrogacy is, however, not acceptable in some cultures and religious backgrounds which look at the practise as unethical and immoral. In India, for example, women who practise commercial surrogacy are despised by the members of the society, since surrogacy is viewed by the Indian society as shameful and immoral and as such, these women are seen as not worthy members of the society (Hochschild 2015). Some people go to the extent of likening these women to prostitutes. When the pressure becomes too much to bear, these women are forced to leave their homes and hide from the members of the society (Hochschild 2015). In this regard, it is obvious that surrogacy as a method of reproduction is not embraced in the Indian society like in other Western societies, and, therefore, those who are involved are not respected as much.

Women are viewed by many societies based on their reproductive roles as mothers and family care givers. In this regard, women normally face the uphill task of working towards ensuring that they do what the society expects them to do in their traditional capacity as women (Bernardi 2003). It is the expectation of the members of the society that as the family care givers, women are able to ensure that the family is fed and cared for and children are fed and are properly dressed. All these are normally put under the role of women to the extent that if any of these role duties is not properly fulfilled, women are normally blamed.

The societies see the reproductive role of women of being a family care taker as the one that is so fundamental that women must embrace. Women face a lot of pressure from the members of the society to ensure that everything happens as per the expectation of the members of the society so that they are not judged to have failed in their reproductive role of proper parenting (Herrera 2013). In this regard, separating women from their children is one act that normally takes a serious toll on women based on the fact that women are more attached to their children than to anything else (Hochschild 2015). Therefore, colonial policies that advocate for the removal of children from their parents have serious negative consequences on women whose maternal instincts are deeply hurt by such policies since the women bear responsibility of caring for children, and as such if anything happens to these children, women are likely to feel pain more than anybody else (Jacobs 2009). It is a norm that many mothers have direct responsibility for their children at all times.

            Women are normally on the receiving end of various issues concerning reproduction. No matter whether the issues that have been raised affect men or not, women are normally treated unfairly on many occasions. A woman can be a successful professional, financially stable, and highly educated. However, if such a woman does not have a family or lacks children, then, on many occasions, members of the society do not consider all her achievements as important, but rather, she is seen as a person who has failed her role of womanhood (Bernardi 2003).  Womanhood in this case is defined based on the ability to have children. In contrast, men who decide not to marry or not to have children do not face such harsh criticism (Herrera 2013). In fact, in the event that a couple decides not to have children, even if the idea came from the man, the society will always blame the women for failing to give children to her husband.

            Birth control is important for controlling the number of children a person gets. In the societies with weak economic capabilities, it has become increasingly important to have birth control as a way of ensuring that the living standards are average among the members of these communities (Davis 2003). It is, however, important to note that many such societies consider the duty of birth control belong to women. Despite the fact that men are equal players in reproduction, women are often left with much to do, and women are normally blamed in the event that things go wrong (Wallace 2010). This form of discriminatory treatments directed towards women affects their relationship with the members of the society.

            In many societies, it is normal to have children only among married couples. As much as the modern world has seen a growing number of single parents, it is still not considered proper, since the family is expected to be made up of the mother, the father and children. In many instances, women are left with the responsibility of raising children alone as the father takes off (Herrera 2013). Women who face such challenges do not get fair treatment from the members of the community. For example, in India, it is only normal to have children in a full family, through a proper marriage, and, therefore, any other means of having children are considered improper.  

In conclusion, social identities that are developed by women form an important part of what they have become. A person can easily identify himself or herself on the basis of the social identity and this can have a great influence on the kind of what he or she does in order to feel like a part of the social group. This means that if one fails to meet certain norms that have been set by a social group, then he or she does not belong to it. With regard to reproduction, women are under intense pressure to be called mothers. Since there are different ways that can be used to achieve motherhood, the pressure to belong to the club is viewed by many through the ability to have children. Women who exploit the other options to motherhood, such as adoption or surrogate contracts, are normally viewed as women who are not complete as they have not exploited their full potential as women, and as such they are not treated with the kind of respect they desire to have. This kind of discriminatory attitude makes some of the women who are incapable of having children in a normal way to feel themselves like they are less women.

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