“My Story” (Jean Grae)

Just like it’s impossible for a trax to encompass a single life (“I’ve actually erased a lot that I’ve been through”), the same goes for a human fetus with the poles reversed. Susan Sherwin contends that a set of feminist ethics shouldn’t be pro-choice in the common sense; rather, it should advocate for women being able to make “truly voluntary choices,” which includes determining the value and meaning of a fetus. As for the first, this would involve an intensive structural critique addressing situations like having to “fuck . . . for rent” or being resigned to “Medicaid fix[ing]” you. (It would entail, in the short term, a rights-based advocacy with a longer view toward the full enfranchisement of women, understood as a category of potentiality.) But what’s a fetus’ potential if it never existed as such? Can it provide enough material for a trax in itself? For Jean Grae’s narrator, a fetus is “divinity” while “mother” is an unmarked and experientially remote status. The fetus represents “another life that almost got close.” That’s a closed narrative already, an anti-utopia premised on disciplining and patterning the murderous self. A choice, then, is only a choice if one’s options include both the manageable and the impossible, or when the voluntary choice is able to entertain unboundedness as one of its orientations.

 

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