anthropomagic

My Thoughts On “We Are ‘Synthetic Children’ And We Agree With Dolce & Gabbana”

Well then, let’s do it! Another touchy subject.

I have recently stumbled upon an essay written by , that I found quite engaging. It raises a number of issues, all of them inherently controversial. Here is the article I will be responding to:

http://thefederalist.com/2015/03/19/we-are-synthetic-children-and-we-agree-with-dolce-gabbana/#disqus_thread

For those who don’t feel like reading it, here’s a very short synopsis: Two people agreeing with the latest Dolce and Gabbana’s statement “You are born to a mother and a father — or at least that’s how it should be. I call children of chemistry, synthetic children.” and explaining exactly why they support it.

I want to be as objective as possible, but we all know that no person can be completely bias-free. We all have different social and cultural backgrounds that shape our own view of the world, influencing our opinions, decisions, and creating consequences from both of them combined. I am not going to argue with the authors, because it is their personal experience and opinion. On top of that, I can’t relate to donor-conceived children, since I myself was conceived in a traditional manner. Still, it’s a great subject to talk about in the first place and I would love to hear what other’s think about the issue.

Okay, let’s get to it.

First of all, let’s start with the whole “synthetic children” idea. It’s interesting that the authors let us know in their title that they consider themselves synthetic children, but then claim that ““[s]ynthetic” indeed is a harsh and inaccurate description of us offspring born by third-party reproduction”.

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Aside from that, I find it troubling that they support Dolce & Gabbana, portraying them as great men “celebrating women and motherhood”, who design “garments made specifically to compliment women’s bodies, […] fitting bustiers to real women’s bodies the last 30 years” and “[t]hey owe their success to their understanding, appreciation, and honoring of the human body”. But then…

dolce gabana

Uh oh. Are they really celebrating women, when they release an add that gets banned by the Advertising Self-Discipline Institute, because “the feminine figure is shown in a degrading manner”? (http://metro.co.uk/2015/03/18/dolce-gabbana-in-hot-water-again-after-gang-rape-ad-campaign-resurfaces-just-days-after-ivf-furore-5108624/)

I understand the need to express their problems with being a donor-conceived child, but maybe not by quoting two obviously misguided men.

Let’s forget for a moment how misogynistic this add was and get back to the word “synthetic”. It is defined by the Oxford Dictionaries as “(of a substance) made by chemical synthesis, especially to imitate a natural product”, which we all know IVF and parents using donor sperm or eggs are not. The technicians are not chemically creating the sperm or the egg in the lab and the child born is definitely human in all aspects as Hart and Newman themselves state.

Now that I’ve pointed out the biggest issue I had with the article, I want to talk about the more dramatic aspect of the authors’ concern with a bit less fashion involved. They share with us their childhood hardships of finding out that their father is actually a stepfather and the feeling of “void left by [their] father’s absence”. Hart describes she felt a lack of bond between her and her social father, because of his background, her personality and beliefs, and the lack of biological connection. Most importantly, Hart and Newman say that “[o]ne of the greatest tragedies of donor conception is the loss of belonging: to family, to a culture” and they emphasize it by saying:

“The lack of my biological father’s presence is a devastating reality, a burden I will likely bare my entire existence. And now, knowing the truth of my conception, when I remember my past I remember everything that was absent from it.”

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This is not something that can be disregarded. After reading their (somewhat overly dramatic) article, I honestly think that parents when deciding to use NRTs (New Reproductive Technology), should think of how their children are going to feel. It seems to be a similar case to what adoptive children sometimes experience: the betrayal and feeling of being lied to when they find out, then looking for their “roots” or origin. But then, who are we to deny parents having children in the first place? The issue here seems to be the idea of kinship (at least in America), where biology and genetics (blood relations) are considered to be the basis of a familial bond. In my case, bonds created based on the people and how they feel about each other is more important than a genetic relationship. I guess everything goes down to the centuries-old nature vs nurture debate… To put it simply, I feel like the connections I have with other humans whether genetically linked or not, are strengthened or weakened by our backgrounds, personalities, beliefs… (oh yes! throwback to what the authors said… without biological connection).

Now there’s one more thing I disagree with: the scientific research they are quoting. They support their feelings by using evolutionary psychology and the Cinderella Effect (the theory that stepparents are significantly more abusive than genetically related ones). They say “it is natural for me to desire my father, for evolution has blessed those that secure such a bond with better survival rates”. Riiiiight. Well, if you want to let biology rule over how you feel (or the idea of biology) completely, then it will be hard to try and make yourself feel better. Here’s a good article about issues concerning evolutionary psychology:

http://hallpike.com/Some%20anthropological%20objections%20to%

20evolutionary%20psychology.pdf

Basically:

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I understand the authors are troubled due to the lack of “nature” in their origin. However, they have been brought up by loving mothers (as they claim) and hadn’t had an abusive father (that they mentioned). There would be no issue if NRTs weren’t outside of social norms in the first place and these change all the time. There is still a lot of ethical concerns with NRTs that need to be addressed as with every technology that directly affects the traditional views and creates social changes.

In the end, what makes a bond between people special, is not how much genetic material they share, but how much they care about each other by walking through life and experiencing it together. I’m not going to automatically love someone or depend on them “because they’re family”, if I have never met them before. When I meet them, I can decide whether the values they hold and how they behave are cool enough so I can develop a deeper connection with them.

At least, that’s how I feel. What about you guys?1pPGF0A

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16 thoughts on “My Thoughts On “We Are ‘Synthetic Children’ And We Agree With Dolce & Gabbana”

  1. Why apologise for writing about this touchy subject? That’s what your young, brilliant mind is for: touching us and challenging us to examine our closely held beliefs. Your final statement is wonderful: a bond between people is really about walking through life together and sharing the same values. A lot of pain is suffered when we depend on people who are automatically supposed to love us because of shared genetic material. Many “parents” abuse this situation and feel entitled to unconditional respect. I know you weren’t specifically calling them out; but sometimes I feel that “synthetic” children might be lucky because their parents definitely moved mountains to bring them into the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, that was a really intelligently written article. I agree there is an inherent issue in non-bio children searching for that missing connection in the bio-parents that will almost always not be there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your feedback 🙂 It’s one of those issues like abortion, where a solution or a definite consensus will be hard to reach anytime soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think you also touched on something with dolce’s advertising. Too many adverts end up with apologies when the masses find a way to distort the intended message. Granted there is a fine line between provocative and offensive, but that’s a risk most companies are willing to take should the marketing pay off in terms of sales. As for political issues, I prefer to limit my opinions to those that affect me; being a man, I should have no say on what a woman does; and therein I have taken a liberal stand per current social media.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s amazing that d&g, in the darkness of rampant gang rape would promote their wares using such insinuations. Boycott. As for those who feel a void or a vacant bond, and tag themselves as ‘synthetic’ or chemical? these metaphors denote their feelings, nothing more, sadness and a confused state of mind. what are the ‘closely held beliefs’, that sabiscuit is referring to? Darkpapoose, has the gang rape scene been apologized for? You don’t seem to take a stance for one or the other, your statement that ‘affects me’ , ego, and ‘liberal stand’ lacks ethical and moral grounding, d&g is okay by you? Hope you don’t mind the bluntness of my thoughts and provocation on what you consider politics? vs behaviour. Kudos to Sessela for not allowing us to forget this mysogenistic ad! More!

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    • Thanks for your feedback Lu. I do think that you might be right when it comes to the author’s feelings. I thought that what they are feeling doesn’t need to be blamed on being a donor-conceived child… But it is how they feel.

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  4. Yes, when people, that become authors, use this medium to express certain needs, because they are not heard or heeded by the ones they needed to love and receive unconditional love, they will strike out and target those, with words like “synthetic”, which is very painful to hear. It may well be also another goal from these authors, best quoted: ” As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” Proverbs 26:21. Who knows truly what is in the hearts of men?

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  5. jpcharlie@ns.sympatico.ca on said:

    Good morning Celine. I am saving this email inocuments. How are you?

    Love from all of us, Granny

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  6. Is there a possible disconnect in the subconscious parts of the brain. Consider the bio-imperatives of most mammals when identifying their young, as opposed to the young of another. Shepards will take a lamb that has lost its mother and sprinkle/wash it in the blood of a lamb that died. The mother of second lamb will then adopt the new lamb. She would have left it to die otherwise. The identifier in these cases is pheromones. There is evidence that women can identify an optimal mate (at least from the perspective of an increased child immune system) through pheromones. Is there any chance that children of other parents do not ‘smell’ exactly right? The mammalian brain can be very compelling.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2415985/Love-SNIFF-Women-tell-man-shares-compatible-genes-reading-scent.html

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that both biology and the environment (like the social background) influence how we connect with people. It might be that in some people the biological connection is stronger than the social and vice versa.

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  7. When we consider how biologically complex we are and need to identify and belong to and with our environment, regarding this, all sciences will seek to vindicate their findings, but these are usually based on empirical findings, using comparative animal behavioural studies, then blinders set in, trends and trademark studies, and each science fails to inter-connect with each other to share their knowledge for the benefit of the whole understanding. Psychologists have 101 Dalmatian opinions, biologist -chemists, another lot, and anthropologist categorize behavioural patterns anchored in cultural and social beliefs, more or less. I enjoy the debate.

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    • i totally agree – it happened about the time scientists stopped using Latin poetry to record their findings – deductive reasoning can only cut things into different categories – synthesis is more difficult

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