What's a Feminist to Do?

I recently read The Farm, Joanne Ramos' very buzzed-about book of 2019. The premise for this book is that mostly poor women are recruited as "hosts" for the the wealthy's embryos. The women are compensated generously at various stages of the pregnancies, as well upon delivery (bonus if you forego a c-section!). The women have pristine living conditions, have their health monitored meticulously, are provided with the prefect pregnancy diets, and aren't expected to do anything but grow their babies. Basically, it's like a nine-month stay at a wellness spa, except the fact you're growing someone else's baby and have little control over your own body. Oh, and all of your communications with the outside world are monitored and you have very little privacy. 

My knee-jerk reaction is to bristle severely at the prospect of using these women like animals on a farm. Their freedom is restricted, they're constantly monitored, they're censored with outside communication, and their bodies are being used for the wealthy? Disgusting. 

But.... Is it? Completely? They were completely aware of what they were doing, had everything spelled out contractually, were compensated handsomely, and were living in luxury. They made the choice to become "hosts" and would benefit financially from the agreement. Sure, some of them were hesitant, but no one dragged them in against their will- they signed up for it. Assuming the women were of sound, body, and mind, is it actually an antifeminist concept? Or is the idea of using your body how you choose actually an act of feminism? 

This dilemma is much broader, if you think about past this literary example. Is surrogacy a problem? That's basically what these women were doing, although with more strings attached and more money to be gained. Most people see surrogacy as a beautiful thing. And what about sex workers? If a woman is empowered and doesn't feel that selling sex is her only option, is that a crime (think about the connotation between the words "prostitution" and "dominatrix"). The list continues- porn actors, skimpily-clad cocktail waitresses, strippers, etc... If a woman makes a conscious decision and is fine with what she's doing, who are we to judge? We use our talents to gain money all the time- artists, writers, hair-stylists, accountants, lawyers, chefs,... But, is she really fine with her choice? Will she be in ten years? Is she extremely young? Does it matter? Are we allowed to make our own choices? 

What's a feminist to do? 

There's no standard, one-size-fits-all rule that we can apply. At the end of the day we have to trust each other, but we also have to look out for each other. 

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