Why do women in…


Why do women in today’s society feel the need to live in fear of their biological time clock?

As Judith Halberstam explains, the phenomena of reproductive time, governs the way that people not only construct their relationships but their lifestyles. You go to college, you find your soul mate, you build a career, and then of course women you MUST have babies. BLA BLA BLA bull shit! As a person that values living outside the social constraints of reproductive time I find it hard to believe why women  continue today to be anxious and fearful of their biological time constraint to have children. Do you believe Amelia Earhart’s accomplishments would be any more exquisite if she decided to have children? Of course, anyone would answer no to that question and could argue that if Amelia did decide to have children her accomplishments in aviation could have been greatly impacted due to the time, energy and money that goes into raising kids.

That aside, women are constantly bombarded with news segments, advertisements, T.V. series, and films that address the importance and “responsibility” that we hold in this world to bear children. Check out time marker 2:56 of this CNN news clip and you’ll catch my drift ;).


-Victoria Brown


Polio & Repro-Time

I never expected my Epidemics in History class to have anything to do with this class.  And then I was reading primary source documents for my final paper and as the patients were explaining how they contracted polio and then how it affected their lives I just kept thinking about repro-time.

The document I was reading is “Polio Voices: An Oral History form the American Polio Epidemics and Worldwide Eradication Efforts.”  Essentially it is a compilation of firsthand accounts of polio victims.  After writing my history paper I went back and looked at the narrations to look at how polio affected repro-time or how the victims said polio affected their lives in terms of repro-time.

Samuel McKnight was born with polio because his mother contracted it while she was pregnant.  His mother eventually died of the disease.  McKnight was raised by his grandparents and his father left because of the damage caused by polio.

Priscilla Dewey Houghton sent her children away after she contracted polio in the hope that they would be spared the disease.  Later he son said he felt deprived by having his mother taken away from him at that stage of his life.  The boy was five when he was sent away.

Fred Bloom built a house for his family and his brother’s.  Specifically the house had a level that was wheelchair accessible for his quadriplegic brother.

Carol Cox was denied enrollment to public school in the first grade because she had suffered from polio.

Edward O’Connor said “you lied a lot because you couldn’t tell potential employers that you had polio – you would never get hired.”

Judith Ellen Hewmann said that the disability she suffered because of polio was worse than the disease.  She was disabled before there was any kind of legislation in our government and she also suffered a lack of employment.

During one of our class lectures my professor stated that during the highpoint of the polio epidemic marriages often suffered.  Specifically she stated that women who suffered paralysis to their arms were more likely to have their marriages end and/or it was rare for them to marry or remarry.

It isn’t groundbreaking to say that illness affects lives in a critical way but I thought it was really interesting to see how drastically polio influenced changes — particularly if you had to live the remainder of your life in an iron lung.   While reading this document I started to think if there was ever a time when repro-time actually existed.  All throughout our existence there has been disease to disrupt our lives so maybe that’s all the more reason to ignore repro-time because it is legitimately just in our heads.

Silver, Julie, and Wilson, Daniel. ”Polio Voices.” London, England: Praeger. 24-91.


— Megan Hruska

Realizing Reproductive Time

This week we talked about Judith Halberstam and her critique of reproductive time, which was surprisingly relevant to my life at the moment. The relationship I was a part of for the last 2 years ended about a month ago and there’s been a lot of realizations after the breakup. You know how it goes, the typical post-relationship thoughts: he didn’t understand so-and-so, how did I not notice XYZ, and the other things you don’t notice when you want something to work out. Well during these thoughts to myself (and rants to my friends), I realized how I focused a whole lot of attention on the relationship, enough so that I put more effort into my romantic life that I pushed aside a lot of my friendships, unfortunately.

Here’s where Halberstam gains relevance. During our conversation in class about reproductive time, we got on the topic of people valorizing relationships to the point where they feel it’s the most important aspect of their life, which follows the normalization of reproductive time. Hearing this really stuck with me because I had that problem in my own relationship, as well as many past relationships. I didn’t realize the investments I placed in reproductive time and how I have a habit of placing relationships on a pedestal that I don’t let other things reach.

I think it’s interesting because this was a huge realization to me, but I’m really casual about my relationships. I have so many other friends who heavily invest in their relationships, to the point where I literally don’t see them when they’re in a relationship. And thinking about how society places love and relationships on the top of a social hierarchy, to the point where we’re told that your worth is far less than those seemingly happy in their pairings. I guess the gravity of my own investment, as well as that in relation to others, in reproductive time was a real eye opener for me.

-Lucas Zigler



In this week’s discussion of reproductive time, I began thinking about how we are expected to be in a certain place in life at a certain time.  But what if you end up in the wrong place at the wrong time?  What are the ramifications of this, and is it really all that detrimental?  The emphasis on reproductive time in the movies, commercials, and advertisements serve to fuel the belief that we must go through certain experiences in order to reach the proper destination.  Get all your partying out in college; settle down after your education; buy a motorcycle at age 45 for your mid-life crisis.  All these things have been instilled in us as the pathway to a fulfilled life; otherwise, you are just an unlucky screw-up.

In the recent film Jeff Who Lives at Home, Jason Segel plays an almost middle-aged man who still lives at home with his mother.  This comedic portrayal of stunted reproductive time shows a misunderstood man who never grew up.  In the film Jeff (Segel) constantly considers the question of destiny and that, perhaps, he is meant to be at a stage in life different from his peers.  Looking around, maybe his repo-time path is not off at all, maybe his has just been tailored to fit his own needs, maybe everyone could learn to do such a thing, leading to more happy and fulfilled lives.

-Elizabeth Nash