Childfree and Sterilized Women's Decisions and Medical Responses
- List Price: $45.00
- Binding: Hardcover
- Publisher: Continuum Intl Pub Group
- Publish date: 03/01/2002
This book examines a relatively new social phenomenon in the West and the 'developed' countries of the world -- that of women s elective sterilization. The study identifies that a minority of women choose not to become mothers, opting for voluntary sterilization in order to remain childfree. A number of major issues relating to choice in contraception and women choosing to be sterilized are explored from feminist and sociological perspectives, using feminist research techniques based on oral and written histories. The 25 women who are the participants in the study reveal the struggles they faced, not only in being women without children in a society which expects women to be mothers, but also in overcoming the many barriers encountered on the way to voluntary sterilization. The interviews and diaries show how women are 'infantized' by a medical profession led by patriarchal notions of what women are and how they should be. Their reasoning and decisions are ignored, not taken seriously, or 'pathologized' often leaving women feeling angry, disempowered and vulnerable to an unwanted pregnancy. With the safety and efficacy of current methods still a matter of debate, and continued use of the Pill deemed as unsuitable throughout women's full fertility cycle, it may be that sterilization is chosen in the absence of acceptable alternatives.
The women's feelings of relief (and occasional regret) at their 'childfree' state are included and anthropological, sociological, cultural and psychological studies used to show that voluntarily-childfree women are perceived as abnormal, not 'real' women, and are often the target of negative and hostile comment. There is also an analysis of media andpress coverage of recent 'child-free scares', and comment on recent interviews and reports by birth control campaigners and agencies. The study makes clear that those women who opt for voluntary sterilization are prepared to act on their own decisions, for their own reasons, and in their own interests. The book concludes by suggesting that, in future, childfree lifestyles may be viewed less negatively as more women make clear their intention not to become mothers.