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Of the monstrous regiment and the family jewels

Journal Article


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Abstract


  • This article seeks to engage with the deeply-imbricated anxieties about post-mortem sperm

    harvesting, and its subsequent use by widows and fiances, in a small body of case law from

    Queensland and Victoria and the 2005 recommendations of the Victorian Law Reform

    Commission. It does so by suggesting that these anxieties can be uncovered through unstated

    cultural resonances about the 'proper' function of men and women in reproduction. These

    resonances recall some of the responses to supposed 'unnatural' and 'monstrous' behaviours of

    women, as they were characterised in the initial stages of the early modern period, when the

    emerging reason and rationality of the new social form collided with superstition and irrational

    explanations for human conduct. The deep sense of disquiet, and indeed disgust, at the thought

    that a woman would 'plunder' and 'violate' the body of her deceased spouse in order to achieve a

    pregnancy after her husband's death continues into the 21st century. These responses persist with

    respect to post-mortem sperm harvesting, though there is now general acceptance of postmortem

    organ donation, which, until recently, was also the subject of disquiet.

Publication Date


  • 2005

Citation


  • M. Leiboff, ''Of the monstrous regiment and the family jewels'' (2005) 23 The Australian Feminist Law Journal 33-59.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2440&context=lhapapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/1435

Number Of Pages


  • 26

Start Page


  • 33

End Page


  • 59

Volume


  • 23

Place Of Publication


  • Australia

Abstract


  • This article seeks to engage with the deeply-imbricated anxieties about post-mortem sperm

    harvesting, and its subsequent use by widows and fiances, in a small body of case law from

    Queensland and Victoria and the 2005 recommendations of the Victorian Law Reform

    Commission. It does so by suggesting that these anxieties can be uncovered through unstated

    cultural resonances about the 'proper' function of men and women in reproduction. These

    resonances recall some of the responses to supposed 'unnatural' and 'monstrous' behaviours of

    women, as they were characterised in the initial stages of the early modern period, when the

    emerging reason and rationality of the new social form collided with superstition and irrational

    explanations for human conduct. The deep sense of disquiet, and indeed disgust, at the thought

    that a woman would 'plunder' and 'violate' the body of her deceased spouse in order to achieve a

    pregnancy after her husband's death continues into the 21st century. These responses persist with

    respect to post-mortem sperm harvesting, though there is now general acceptance of postmortem

    organ donation, which, until recently, was also the subject of disquiet.

Publication Date


  • 2005

Citation


  • M. Leiboff, ''Of the monstrous regiment and the family jewels'' (2005) 23 The Australian Feminist Law Journal 33-59.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2440&context=lhapapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/1435

Number Of Pages


  • 26

Start Page


  • 33

End Page


  • 59

Volume


  • 23

Place Of Publication


  • Australia