In "My body does not belong to you", published in january 2018 to Albin Michel editions, Marianne Durano delivers a controversial essay, powerful and skillful that shatters the scientific and medical paradigm on the female body. I strongly advise you to get this remarkable work ! Women have certainly gained their independence, social and professional, got the pill, the right to abortion, medically assisted procreation (PMA), but this progress conceals an attack on the freedom of choice and a new guardianship of women. Marianne Durano warns us of this insidious dictatorship of medicine and technology.
Interview by Pryska Ducœurjoly for Néo Santé, n°76.
Normalienne and aggregated in philosophy, Marianne Durano is a public high school teacher and mother of two. She also works for the integral ecology review Limite.
PHOTO Astrid of Crollalanza
In your book, you tackle early pills on young women, who must also undergo a "technical check" during the first visit to the gynecologist: "The scabrous ritual actually aims to prescribe to our young girls the inevitable chemical contraception which will allow them to be available without risk and without restriction to the desire of their partner" ... This was your case?
Marianne Durano. Like many girls, I was put on the pill as a teenager. For some, it starts long before the first intercourse. In my case, hormonal contraception started after the first relationship. "What, you don't take the pill? », surprised my first boyfriend of the time. Hello romanticism! I gave in to this enormous pressure like many others. Pressure from the whole society, which floods us with leaflets, posters, advertising clips, classroom prevention sessions, every year since the sixth, pressure from female comrades, pressure from potential boyfriends, pressure from mothers also sometimes. I note that the gynecological examination acts as a certificate of assurance that any partner is entitled to demand from the object of their desire. Before authorizing a young girl to enter the world of sexuality, you have to check that it is healthy and safe. The girl’s privacy, who should put the legs apart, is handled by a doctor before she has even been tamed by herself or caressed by a man. Little is said about the anxiety that arouses in many young girls this first examination, lived as an obligation, and too often still as a trauma. Vaginal touching performed unnecessarily, indiscreet or even derogatory remarks, sometimes intrusive gestures: these are the ritual stages of entry into sexual life. It is forbidden to report violence, to question the necessity, under penalty of being accused of criticizing the medicine or the pill, this panacea for female liberation. But today, speech is freeing itself.
How did you lived your experience of hormonal contraception?
While I was under pill, nothing in particular. It’s by stopping contraception that I discovered I had a body! Besides the weight loss that followed, I discovered in me stronger emotions than before, a great sensitivity which varies over the cycle. The rediscovery of the female cycle has represented a huge awareness of my femininity. Cependant, it took me a long time to find my marks. AT stopping the pill, some side effects put a lot long to fade and it took me years to make the link with this contraception. It’s ultimately thanks to help from a Billings advisor (natural method) that i could understand that I didn't have to feel guilty about my vaginal dryness problems, my body was just putting time to recover. What haven't I heard from the doctors that I consulted! All of these side effects were supposedly in my head, I was even suggested to examine the repressed rape track… If rape has occurred, it’s a rape chemical that lasted for several years, a brutal intervention which upset the natural balance, my fertility, and to finish my sex life itself.
You write: "Female fertility is at the forefront of the as long as it’s manageable: contraception, abortion and PMA (assisted reproduction) are the holy trinity of a technolatric feminism ". You think, feminism has derivative in an adoration of medical technique?
In the years 60, I probably would have demonstrated with everyone world in favor of the Neuwirth law. The purpose of the book is not to question the authorization to market the hormonal contraception! But today, technology makes system and invades our lives. Women are in permanently obliged to position themselves for or against, in order to safeguard their physical integrity. Then yes, it becomes a problematic drift! Historically, en France, the feminist activists federated around the defense of the pill, a standard. But we must remember that feminism, at less in the United States and even within the Liberation Movement women (MLF), also advocated in its time the reappropriation of the body and autonomy of women (especially with the current "Self-help"). Unfortunately, this dimension has not triumphed mediatically or politically. Result, the emancipation that we have been promised since 40 years goes by exclusively through technical management of the female body. To bring to the risks inherent in any romantic relationship an answer technical and commercial obviously dispenses with a reflection on what love must be to be neither dangerous nor alienating. It is important to see that contraceptive techniques artificial, far from neutral, involve a vision of the sexual intercourse, of the couple, of the female body and procreation absolutely new. To a social grip on the female body succeeds a technical hold, more insidious than she take the colors of emancipation. Young girls are losers on all fronts: subject to exams invasive, guilty prevention, contraception who change their hormonal cycles, to a male desire that makes disregarding their own rhythm and to which they can hardly to subtract, they are not free from trauma abortion, reason why they are inflicted this treatment.
What could be the real emancipation of woman today?
The fact that we don't even see a possible alternative anymore shows that we are truly facing an "alienation". In an alienating system, the individual is not aware that he no longer belongs. He just doesn’t see that he’s insane. It’s very different from “domination”, in which the subject sees that he is oppressed and knows towards what alternative he must go to free himself. In the system current, woman is both victim and accomplice, it's the principle of alienation which integrates oppression like normality.
For me, I cannot imagine real emancipation if it is not first based on knowledge. Do you know yourself, this adage is as old as the world. The pill does not can be emancipatory because it is based on an ignorance of the functioning of the female cycle and hormonal contraception. The more urgent would be to restore in men and women this knowledge of female fertility, rather than promoting systematic pill. Certainly women must be free of their choice, but this choice must be complete. When we currently sees how good the best methods of natural contraception are disparaged, while they are reliable, this choice no longer exists. There is no alternative for women, at least that's what we want to do to them believe…
Another condition for emancipation is self-esteem and Self respect. On my way out of contraception hormonal, I learned to love and respect my body. This did allowed to acquire real autonomy. Today i don't depend on no one to manage my fertility. Laboratories can collapse, I don't need them!
Finally, you should have the courage to say no to gestures technical and invasive that we claim to impose on us in the name of our health. During my second pregnancy, I managed to refuse certain tests that make no sense. I gave birth, at the hospital, but I refused the epidural, and I insisted to get help from a midwife. Lots of midwives would like to exercise their profession with respect for women and their body, but the system prevents them. The most beautiful, at the end of my delivery, it was the midwife's thanks and her joy to have been able to provide this support.
In your book, you say "pregnancy is a ufo ». Why?
I use this expression about the look of others then that I live my first pregnancy, to 23 years, and that I circulate in the corridors of the university library. In these looks, I can read embarrassment as if I don't fit into the boxes: What do you mean, a pregnant intellectual, so young? This is that she missed something, she probably missed out on his contraception, she will gun down her career, the poor… I am then an "unidentified living object" making burst into the public sphere when it shouldn't. Object, because the body has long been dissociated from the mind, that there is only one cluster of cells left can handle, control. Since then, I realize that this sexual body, whose fertility I cannot hide, n / A no place in the spirit sphere, that the woman must disappear as a woman when she has pretensions intellectual.
On the side of gender studies, the famous gender studies, the pregnant woman is the great absent. In my book, I quote one reference book on gender studies: not even once the word pregnancy does not appear! Or, if he is certain that he there are decisive social constructions for men and the women, pregnancy remains an irreducible, a difference fundamental. In my opinion, denying this difference is new violence, that is to say to women that they do not exist. The body being reduced to a simple mechanical, totally separate from the mind. The great forgotten is the subject as a body and inseparably linked spirit. In gender studies, the female body, lived in the first person, disappears. The body maternal remains an "unthought", the shadow area of our emancipation theories. Women are first victims of this ignorance.
You think, "It’s no coincidence that control technique of the female body coincides with the denial of difference of the sexes ". Can you explain this statement?
We have given ourselves the means to put the female body, then it is easy to say that there is no difference with men. En effet, chemical contraception evacuates cyclical femininity to align the experience of the body feminine on the functioning of the masculine body, which is constant. De même, a woman's biological clock can also be denied by the technical progress of medically assisted procreation. This helps evacuate the desire for pregnancy. She is told that she has time, that it should not be subject to this biological determinism, that she now has a whole technical arsenal allowing him to make children of all ages, like men. It suits phallocratic society well and productivity imperatives. Finally, woman is victim of a universal male model: it's always the men who thought the discourses on the feminine: a woman normally constituted is a man like the others! The disappearance of the difference between male and female to which we are witnessing today through gender studies translates a "phallocentric" thought which allows to adapt women to the dominant thought system.
You talk about phallocracy and not patriarchy. Which is the difference?
What I mean by that, it is the power of the phallus understood as a symbol of male power, of desire to conquer, of mastery or domination. It’s also the reduction of the body male to sexual act. Man-coitus, the irresponsible, the macho looking for immediate pleasure and not thinking of his own fertility or paternity. In the phallocratic system, the man is as victim as accomplice, nor does he perceive this alienation from this representation of man particularly devaluing. That it must be difficult for a man to be reduced to this vision of an immature being! A man who doesn't control his impulses, no more than her fertility, fertility which also now depends on a medical device, a stamp that wants or does not want to take its partner. It must be very uncomfortable. We have a lot heard women, and I would really like men to take the speech! They too experience some form of violence, perhaps less intimate than the woman but nevertheless real.
What is the logical continuation of this technical grip on the female body?
The artificial uterus is the final step in the process, under covered with gender equality. Henri Atlan, in The uterus artificial, affirme: "The artificial uterus achieve women's social liberation by making them equal to men faced with the physiological constraints inherent in procreation. Alors, the revolution apparently started harmless with the pill and the washing machine will achevée with ectogenesis ". For him, the pregnancy is just a "very complicated piping problem", the woman is in a way a big boiler that one can replace with an advanced technique. This process is the ideal solution to emerging infertility issues currently due to endocrine disruptors, as well at men than women. We also forget that the problems infertility sometimes have a psychological cause on which it would be fundamental to lean. The paradox in all of this, this is than hormonal contraception or reproductive techniques medically assisted, also use disruptors endocrine, synthetic hormones. We treat the disease with the poison that causes it and no one sees the problem. We create completely irreversible damage to the ecosystem bodily, as pesticides and other disruptors do endocrine in the environment. In this logic, we see on the acquisition of Monsanto, leader in the field of pesticides, by Bayer, leader in hormonal contraception. The again, no one reacts.
Finally, it is for a rehabilitation of the female body you plead, faced with attempts to bring it under control which not yesterday ...
From the start of ancient thought, with Socrates and Plato, the female body has always been underestimated. According to one classic opposition, the material is vulgarly shaped by the female body, passively, while the mind is nobly and actively "begotten" by the philosopher. This body / mind dualism served as the basis for the ouster systematics of the female body outside of philosophical discourse. The contemporary representations, that divide the woman between a body supposed to be alienating and an allegedly liberated mind, rest dependent on this conceptual phallocentric system. Aristotle, by example, denies mother's activity during pregnancy, identifying this process as a simple "check", the womb baking the fetus like a bread oven! But all mother knows that giving life is not pure passivity that leaves unscathed, as if the truth were an abstraction stranger to life! Giving life is also news birth, a self-generation in itself which brutally confronts the woman to the truth of her mortal condition, to the reality of his body, other people's bodies, and the heavy responsibilities that now weigh him down. If we define the truth as the adequacy of the mind to reality, from experience to life, so childbirth is the ultimate test of truth!
The definition of pregnancy as a simple coction is updated by ABM promoters (surrogacy). Outsourcing pregnancy, think of it as a service you can delegate to another, even to a machine : it is the same logic at work today for ABM, tomorrow for ectogenesis. What is an artificial uterus indeed if not an incubator, a kind of oven where the fetus, warm, can pursue growth independently? Atlan himself suggests when comparing women who want to continue to beget "naturally" to those "who decide, for example, to make their own bread ". A fad green!
From the emancipation promised by philosophy to emancipation promised by technique, we find this old ambition of compete with the womb. Brief, of begetting philosophical to the artificial womb, androgynous of Plato in Asexual "cyborgs" of which the apostles dream transhumanism, the gap is thin, barely a hair, a hair woman of course.