The Postcolonial Paradox and Feminist Solidarity

  • Sheela Saravanan


Postcolonial feminists critique the universalization of women globally, for applying Western standards of emancipation on all women and describing non-western, women of colour as the “other”. However, this postcolonial dilemma resulted in a postcolonial anxiety that resorted to pluralism and fragmented women into smaller identity groups. This chapter examines the postcolonial paradox and anxiety in the experiences of people involved in transnational movement from the “one-third world” accessing surrogacy in the “two-third world”. This chapter observes this postcolonial paradox among the intended parents who accessed surrogacy in Gujarat, India, through interviews and participant observations. Women in India participate in surrogacy to enhance their economic conditions and as their body parts are comparatively more remunerative than men. A choice between “poverty” or surrogacy cannot be prescribed as “liberty”. Intended parents had escaped the stricter surrogacy regulations in their home country in expectation of procedural ease, lesser rights for surrogate mothers (SMs), and more control over the surrogacy process in India. These motivations of intended parents are inherently exploitative. The experience of intended parents and the surrogacy markets reveal that it is neither the imperial Global North-South nor the re-oriental South-South patterns that can describe the holistic phenomenon of surrogacy in India. Surrogacy practices has also revealed the classist, sexist, racist elements and violation of women’s bodies that is common in both the Global North and Global South and yet some academics and feminists fail to note these bridging factors. There is, hence, a need for global feminists to form an alliance based on a reproductive justice framework that aims to reduce forms of inequalities that transects class, race, gender, sexuality, disability, age, and immigration status in critique of practices that exploit such vulnerability.


Postcolonial paradox Re-orientalism Neo-colonialism Otherness Reproductive care chain Cultural relativism 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, South Asia InstituteHeidelberg UniversityHeidelbergGermany

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