Wars Waged for Babies: How the Fetishization of the Future Child and Motherhood Suggests the Inescapability of Biopolitics in Alphonso Cuarón’s Children of Men and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
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Several scholars have argued that the film Children of Men by Alphonso Cuarón reinforces the biopolitical structures it ostensibly criticises by upholding a reproductive futuristic message. In this thesis however, I will argue that the upholding of Lee Edelman’s theory of reproductive futurism is intentional to demonstrate an inescapability of biopolitics in modernity. According to Agamben’s theory of biopolitics the state of exception has become the rule in modernity which causes everyone to be homo sacer. Agamben however, does not mention women in his works on homo sacer, even though it can be argued that their role in the biopoliticisation of life is different than that of men. By analysing Children of Men in terms of reproductive futurism I will be able to prove how a narrative that is concerned with escaping the present is inextricably connected to biopolitics, supporting Agamben’s claim that biopolitical logics are inherent in modernity. Because Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has a stronger focus on the feminist aspects of reproductive futurism I will analyse this text next to Children of Men, in order to give a fuller understanding of how the biopolitical logics of reproductive futurism are inherent in modernity. Eventually I will be able to conclude that both texts uphold reproductive futuristic ideas, causing them to reproduce the biopolitical logics they ostensibly criticise and by doing so the texts demonstrate the inescapability of biopolitics in modernity.