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"There is no Unauthorized Breeding in Jurassic Park": Gender and the Uses of Genetics

From: NWSA Journal
Volume 12, Number 3, Fall 2000
pp. 92-113 | 10.1353/nwsa.2000.0050

Abstract

This article relies on close readings of Jurassic Park (the book and the film) and Gattaca (film) to argue that a great deal of the opposition to new genetic technologies expressed in contemporary popular culture is grounded in a profound anti-feminism. Both of these science fiction stories suggest that genetic manipulation is "unnatural," and call for a return to a romanticized "natural" motherhood. In Jurassic Park, genetic science is figured as a threat to the white nuclear family, producing "Third World" female dinosaurs whose reproduction cannot be stopped, whose existence threatens white American children. Gattaca aligns the "unnaturalness" of genetically modified offspring with homosexuality and communism, and calls for the return of democracy, individual striving, and motherhood. Together, the article argues, these two texts suggest some of the pitfalls for feminism in contemporary discussions of reproductive technology and genetic determinism.