Friday, May 20, 2011

Female Body Rental

Women's bodies can be rented for gendered purposes. They can be rented for sexual purposes. Or reproductive purposes.

Since the cash incentive of prostitution and economic exploitation of empoverished women in prostitution is already well documented (I mean, noone in their right mind would argue that women have sex in prostitution for altruistic reasons or because they...just enjoy it.), I'll leave that fact out and focus on the cash incentive and economic structuring of surrogate purchasers renters. Then I'll compare the physical and emotional risks and benefits of selling your womb versus selling your vagina, and ask some open-ended questions about how each is understood.

Surrogacy Facts:

-There are fewer surrogate mothers in states and countries where commercial surrogacy is banned.
-The average surrogate earns between $10,000 and $35,000 for surrogacy.
-The average surrogate’s annual income is between $6,000 to $55,000.
-And while a survey of surrogates indicated that 80% of respondents said that money wasn’t the main motivator, the following questions on a surrogate mother forum indicate that money actually does…sorta…matter.
-The average cost of surrogate pregnancy for a couple desiring a surrogate child is $100,000.
So it’s…wealthy couples. Wanting reproductive services. From lower-class women.

Comparison between physical and emotional risks and costs of surrogacy and pregnancy:

-Time Nine month, 24/7 rental, hormonal and physical changes; Hormone injections.
-Control factor If complications arise, couple might want you to abort the baby. You cannot abort the baby past the second trimester. Lifestyle changes and constant monitoring by "couple."
-Physical Risk 10.43 per cent chance of experiencing complications for women aged 20-29 (This is not including C-sections, random minor complications), 3 months of physical discomfort and 4-35 hours of intense physical pain. Permanent physical alteration, damage (loose breasts and skin on stomach, stretched out vagina).
-Emotional Damage: Preparing yourself to be detatched from a human being that has been growing inside of you for nine months and to which your body is releasing a bunch of attachment hormones.
-Power relationship: You are being monitored, and are being pressured into maintaining obligations by lawyers, a married couple, and a host of doctors. Pure objectification - the act of harvesting a baby involves, purely, providing a good, drug free enviornment for a future child.
-Pay Rate: (considering median surrogate fee of $20,000 for 9 months, 10 days of 24/7 on-duty, we'll add another month of 8 hour/day for dietary and health constraints and hormonal injections) Appx. $3.00/hour
-Fraction of total fees paid to woman rented: appx. 20%

-Time: Most frequently, between 10 min and an hour of continuous and purely physical services.
-Control: The possibility to terminate provision of services if pain/physical discomfort arises.
-Physical Risks: If we assume standard work conditions, physical risks include minor vaginal or anal tearing, jaw or hand cramps, and minimal possibility of STD transmission via Oral sex or if a condom slips off or breaks during vaginal or anal intercourse.Generally, none. Possible minor laxity of anus and vagina.
-Emotional damage: detachment from someone you most likely weren't attracted to anyways. Possibly closing your eyes and imagining that George Clooney, rather than very sweet but quite fat 60 year old banker, is on top of you. developing a different attitude towards sex. possible trust issues.
-Power relationship: at best, it's you and the guy.
-Objectification Factor At worst, pure objectification. No conversation, the guy walks in, he fucks you, he leaves. At best, you're a temporary girlfriend and your personality, interests, speech and movements are all cherished.
-Pay Rate (assuming a women with the same socioeconomic stability, health, and education as the average american surrogate mother) $350.00/hour.
-Fraction of total fees paid to woman rented: 
Independent: 100%
Agency: 50-75%
Brothel: 40-60%

Why is surrogate motherhood legal in the United States while prostitution is illegal? Why is the former illegal in Canada, the UK, and the EU, while the later is either completely or partially legalized?

What makes it acceptable for upper-middle class couples to provide financial incentives to young, lower class women to perform reproductive services and why is this practice construed as “noble” and “not exploitative?”

Also, what makes it unacceptable for upper-middle class men to provide financial incentives to lower class women to perform sexual services, and what makes this institution “dirty,” “exploitative,” and “abusive towards women?”

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