- 死生学研究 (ISSN:18826024)
- no.13, pp.152-182, 2010-03
This paper attempts to clarify how Japanese mass media described gestational surrogacy by focusing on the narratives of surrogate mothers in the articles of popular magazines. The subjects of this analysis are the articles published from June 1981 - around the time when the first articles began appearing - to May 2008. In these articles, gestational mothers were mostly described by people who benefited from their gestation. These people included clients, agents, and a doctor involved in gestational surrogacy in Japan. Through their narratives, gestational mothers in the media are recognized in mainly three aspects.<改行> First, the following perceptions exist about gestational mothers: (l) Gestational mothers are transcendent and are beyond ordinary people. (2) Their existence is holy. (3) They represent the epitome of self sacrifice. These three concepts come from the myth of motherhood that is associated with the sexist portrayal of a woman's role in the society. Second, there are two aspects to the portrayal of the gestational mothers'bodies: (1) metaphors are used for wombs as objects, though a womb is a part of a living body, and (2) while few articles did mention gestational mothers'physical experiences, these experiences were not that focused upon. It is under these perceptions that their bodies are considered as items that should be traded in the market. Third, gestational mothers'personal characters are not mentioned at all.<改行> Popular sentiment (seron), created by the media, is often referred to as the more legitimate opinion in Japan when people consider gestational surrogacy; however, this research indicates the seron is actually organized as mentioned above. Hence, one should be careful when referring to these opinions while considering surrogacy more objectively.