Monday, October 6, 2008

The Miseducation of Jezebel James

As with the topic of infertility, how the media portrays surrogacy has long been a point of contention among those involved in the respective communities. The media has a knack for latching on to either Wow, that's freakin' AWESOME! or What the flying flip were they thinking? surrogacy stories, such as the 51-year old who delivered her grandchildren or the recent whacked out Florida traditional surrogacy custody battle. Because of the narrow window through which the media portrays surrogacy, the general population is often left with negative or somewhat warped impressions. Therefore, I am somewhat concerned about how surrogacy will be portrayed in the TV series The Return of Jezebel James (which premieres tonight on FOX at 8pm) and this spring's big screen movie Baby Mama (which opens in April and features Tina Fey).

My hackles have already been raised by the synopses of both the show and the movie. In both, the intended mothers are single, successful, career-driven women who are met with unfamiliar failure when they finally attempt to check Have a baby off of their Great Things to Do lists. The polar opposite surrogates are younger, spirited, somewhat unsettled, and are more than a few rungs below the IMs on the socioeconomic status ladder. I fear that because both the series and the movie perpetuate these stereotypes, the unwitting public will be left with the subconsious ideas that women who "do that IVF thing" are mostly older, affluent, Type-A personality singles and that most surrogates are flighty ditzes who "do it for the money."

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Kymberli is the contributing editor for Surrogacy (Surrogate Point-of-View). She writes daily at I'm a Smart One where she chronicles her life as a gestational surrogate after her own struggle with infertility.

1 comment:

SeaStar said...

This is really interesting Kimberli - the whole surrogacy world - a world I would know nothing about without Bridges. Thank you for helping me break stereotypes and think in new ways. A bridge indeed.