Advertisements for Infertility: Using Reproductive Desire to Reinforce Gender Roles

Advertisements for Infertility: Using Reproductive Desire to Reinforce Gender Roles

In media narratives, becoming a mother is portrayed as a pleasant, exciting, and intriguing experience. The motherhood myth is ingrained in wider patriarchal structures, which causes a naturalised link between mothering and women. Despite a wide range of cultural and societal shifts in women's wants over the course of the 20th century, parenting and reproduction have continued to take precedence over other traditionally assigned responsibilities for women.

In her edited book, Infertility Around the Globe, anthropologist and novelist Marcia C. Inhorn writes, "Making babies is how women are supposed to build adult identities throughout the world, and in non-Western "developing" civilizations the gendered ramifications of infertility can be deadly." This is also true of the socio-cultural fabric of India, where motherhood is elevated to the point where a woman without one is viewed as "fragmented."

The gender performances of mothering are affected by these parenting ideas. In the setting of infertile women in society, dominant conceptions of parenthood become problematic. Since infertility entails the inability to fulfil a desired social role, the presence of infertility is conveyed not by the presence of pathological symptoms but rather by the absence of a desirable state. The ability to bear children determines the value of women's life in many communities, both past and contemporary. In India, childlessness is strongly encouraged.

Infertility is a condition where the social construction of health and illness is maybe even more apparent than it is in other conditions. This critical viewpoint clarifies how an infertility diagnosis is markedly burdened with negative connotations and qualifies as a disability. As a result of this "invisible impairment" within the cultural construction of gendered reproduction, fertility clinics have become increasingly popular in India. A significant socio-cultural discourse on gender roles, motherhood, body politics, and the burgeoning fertility industry in India is called into question by the medicalization of infertility.

In terms of commercial assisted reproductive technology, India is a leader. In India, the scientific and healthcare industries, as well as procreative technology, have taken over the culture. The concept of "test-tube" children has become more commonplace because to popular culture, print and electronic media, and the thriving IVF (in vitro fertilisation) clinic industry in India.

In the 1990s, India became a market for assisted reproductive technology as a result of the emergence of globalisation and other liberal economic policies. Infertility was medicalized in the nineteenth century, turning sufferers into patients. In the twenty-first century, with the rise of new reproductive technologies and the diabolical confluence of neoliberalism, globalisation, free market capitalism, the same patients became consumers.

As gendered technologies, assisted reproductive technologies themselves have very specific and distinct applications on the bodies of men and women (Konrad 1998). The commodification of human desires opens up a market when social or medical priorities are linked to unpredictable consequences from a cultural-economic perspective. Through the "microphysics of power," to use Foucault's the phrase, desire is crucial in supporting the societal norms of fertility behaviour.

Capitalism performs best when it observes people's most valued desires and tailors this information to keep consumerism in motion. The market for assisted reproduction technology employs dynamic advertising methods through the employment of street hoardings, wall advertisements, posters with exquisite designs, fantastic websites, and media, print, and institutional advertisements.

Images of happy babies, perplexing statistics, and good pregnancy test results are frequently used in infertility commercials to highlight the commercial nature of reproductive technologies and entice customers to choose their clinics over those of their corporate rivals.

In order to instill a sense of reproductive desire in infertile women, advertising serves as an ideological arm of the fertility markets. Reproductive desire is both a social construct and a deeply personal emotion. Different types of reproductive impulses are processed and shaped by culture, economy, religion, gender, and technology.

The global capital sectors' propagation of maternal stereotypes encourages stigmatised women to participate in experimental medical operations. The institutional promotion of procreative technology breakthroughs has been crucial in normalising assisted conception in India. The widespread availability of health-related information on the Internet is changing how Indians obtain medical care.

The assisted reproductive market technology in India has been significantly impacted by this online revolution. The websites of fertility clinics highlight a number of fascinating facts like cutting edge technology, patient testimonials, and IVF success rates to entice patients to join them on a life-changing medical adventure.

The cost of assisted reproductive technology is high. Each IVF cycle costs between 60,000 and 2 lakh rupees, therefore the financial hardship increases anxiety and trauma in those receiving reproductive treatments. Clinics in India are still able to advertise much greater success rates than they actually have due to a lack of regulation in the markets for assisted reproductive technology, and the implications of this can be disastrous. The financial burden for the individuals undergoing treatment procedures, the agonising wait for conception, and stories of worry and sadness following failure IVF treatments do not make it into popular media narratives.

Man-Made Women: How the Contemporary Reproductive Technologies Affect Women, a seminal study by Gene Corea, explores how new reproductive technologies administer patriarchal norms and objectify women's procreative capacity. According to Corea, women are entangled in all-pervasive, irresistible natalism that compels them to procreate. This situation leads them to a well-known turning point where the idea of reproduction becomes ingrained in their minds.

The primary location of fertility issues is the woman, regardless of which spouse has a "problem." Her body serves as the site for in vitro fertilisation or artificial insemination (IVF). In order to support gender power structures and attempt to define the performativity of gender, fertility markets employ the narrative space of marketing.

The female body is that which attracts a doctor's attention the most. The IVF procedure is the most widely used treatment option in the fertility market. This low cost, low success, moderately unsafe innovation has become the standard treatment for involuntary childlessness in part because of the construction of professional and popular discourses that exaggerate its triumphs, misrepresent its victories, and lionise the institutional system of provision—the traditional hospital-based, male-dominated medical hierarchy. These pro-choice industries profit off patriarchy, deprivation, and the media.

Malicious Medicine: My Experience with Fraud and Falsehood in Infertility Clinics, written by Anita Jayadevan, is an interesting book that details the methods and medical diagnosis fertility clinics use to treat infertility. In the guise of assisted reproductive technology, these clinics circulate and (re)produce normativity.

The author describes the mental anguish and physical ordeal she underwent. It further demonstrates the crucial responsibilities that doctors play in generating profits at the expense of consumers. "We remembered seeing a full-page, an ostentatious advertisement for a clinic on January 31, 2000, in a prestigious publication. The facility was advertised as having reliable systems that could treat infertility (Jayadevan, 14).

As a result of the fusion of science, technology, industry, and society, these campaign narratives populate ideals that are ingrained in our culture. She calls for the establishment of an oversight organisation for assisted reproductive technology in India through the publication of this narrative.

These stories successfully apply the standard gender politics strategies and elevate parenting as a result. The dynamic results of shifting socioeconomic, technological, and biological conditions are health and health services. Assisted reproductive technologies go beyond simple technological advancements. They have a significant impact on the social norms and power structures that are now in place.

People frequently miss the marketing technique used by the fertility companies to incite a desire for reproduction in the former patients who are now sufferers. They prioritise consuming patterns above all else, which makes women the object of exploitation and servitude.

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