Border disputes across bodies: Exploitation in trafficking for prostitution and egg sale for stem cell research

Ijfab 2 (1):5--24 (2009)
Abstract
In recent decades, debates about exploitation have tended to be subsumed by debates about choice and autonomy. This phenomenon has affected international feminism adversely, creating polarized debates over such issues as prostitution. Equally grave is the more recent tendency, even among some feminists, to assume that a woman's free choice to accept payment for egg ``donation'' in somatic cell nuclear transfer stem cell research absolves researchers of any charge of exploitation or abuse of research subjects. This paper suggests that much of this dissension among feminists is due to conflicting understandings of the crucial but neglected concept of exploitation. Analyzing two possible senses of exploitation -- a disparity between value ``in'' and value ``out'' versus an affront to dignity -- this paper argues that both are underpinned by what Carole Pateman identifies as gender subordination. In conclusion it is suggested that transnational feminism return to a more traditionally feminist stance, which explicitly focuses on opposing the subordination and exploitation of women.
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