Anelise Farris is an Assistant Professor at the College of Coastal Georgia. She graduated with a PhD in English where she studied the Teaching of English from Idaho State University. She has a BA in English (Concentration: Folklore, Mythology, and Literature), an MA in English Literature, and a Graduate Certificate in Folklore Studies from George Mason University. Anelise’s areas of study include genre fiction, disability studies, folklore + mythology, popular culture, and new media. By fusing together insights from fields outside of English, she strives to deepen our collective understanding of how stories shape the world.
Abstract: Through a close reading of Caeli Wolfson Widger’s novel Mother of Invention (2018), this article seeks to address the lack of scholarship in science fiction studies and disability studies on (in)fertility. Widger’s evocative, challenging sf novel both subverts and expands feminist rhetoric surrounding motherhood. Reacting against the one-note brand of feminism that developed in the mid-twentieth century, Widger’s novel strips feminism down to its most basic form: that which involves actively supporting and valuing all women’s rights—from disabled to non-disabled, and from stay-at-home caretaker to those in the workforce. Accordingly, this article traces key conversations in the novel that highlights how inclusive feminism gradually develops in the protagonist Tessa. These conversations examine a system that has unnecessarily burdened women and unfairly pitted them against one another. And it invites readers to reflect upon the ways in which they, too, inhabit motherhood: their beliefs or practices that might further a problematic, singular image of what it means to be a woman. Ultimately, what the (regrettably) unconventional discourse in this novel highlights is the diverse ways in which women experience motherhood and the necessary, difficult conversations that must occur in order to foster inclusivity.
Imploring the System and Inhabiting Motherhood: Matters of [Re]Productivity and Disability In Mother of Invention