“Alien” Sexuality: Race, Maternity, and Citizenship by Cisneros

Natalie Cisneros writes about the controversy surrounding “alien” sexuality. She talks about the views that different people have on citizenship, maternity, and reproduction. When an immigrant woman is in the United States and she is pregnant, she receives help from the government to be able to be taken care of by medical doctors. This is because the child, who will potentially be born, will be a United States citizen. The question raised is whether or not a soon to become mother should receive this assistance if she is not a citizen herself. The reason why they receive this help is because they are the molds who hold these future citizens, and that is more important than if they are citizens themselves.

Cisnero discusses that, “the era of the fetus-as-person has made the maternal body increasingly vulnerable; in discourses that posit fetuses as citizens deserving of the state’s protection, women’s bodies are constituted both as instrumental (for the production of citizens) and responsible (for their ‘health’ or ‘contamination’)” (Cisneros, 6). It should not be that a woman with the worries and stress of being pregnant should be attacked with whether or not they should receive the kind of help that they need as human beings. To say that a woman is responsible for their health or contamination leaves the government out of the picture. Being that the United States goes into different countries to try and help, these women in their own country should be helped as well. Seeing the pregnancy as a plan to stay in the country makes me really sad to hear. Most women that are pregnant decide to have their kids in the United States so the child could have the possibility of having a better life, mothers tend to be selfless, but the government seems to always attack the weakest. Do you see “anchor babies” as a problem? Why or why not?

Cisnero also discusses reproduction and connects it to “anchor babies” as well. She mentions that, “in the context of the emergence of discourse surrounding ‘anchor babies’ and the threat of ‘invasion’ or ‘infestation’ posed by “alien” reproduction, the ‘birthright’ citizenship guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment has again been called into question”  (Cisneros, 13). This is a sentence that tries to justify the scare that some people have. But to say that kids of immigrant parents are an “invasion” or “infestation” is terrible, due to the fact that a judgement is applied on an innocent child that has not even arrived on this planet yet. What do you think that a change of the Fourteenth Amendment would do to this country?


Similarly to Curry Todd’s comment about pregnant illegal immigrants multiplying like rats, Representative Todd Akins said that rape was legitimate. Legitimate rape would mean that the bodies of those girls who were raped would not be able to conceive a baby because the body could reject a pregnancy from happening. This belief was also not valid to a lot of people and was seen rather insulting just like the comparison to multiplying rats. Do you find this ad to work? Why or why not?


2 thoughts on ““Alien” Sexuality: Race, Maternity, and Citizenship by Cisneros

  1. Good questions, Iris. I’m curious about your own responses to this. What connections do you see with the “legitimate rape” statement? How do you think the US would shift if the 14th Amendment was amended?

  2. I would hope that the people would revolt against the 14th amendment being changed. If it was to change than it would give the government more power than it should. How could a definition of a citizen and the rights that come along with it change, it’s hard to change a definition of something if people don’t buy it. I would hope that people wouldn’t allow for this to happen.

    With the “legitimate rape” statement, I find them both ridiculous and denigrating to women. To say that a girl multiplies like rats or can shut her body down from resulting pregnant in the case of rape is so unfair. Guys would never have to go through that because even if they impregnate many girls they’ll usually be praised for it, instead of being criticized for it. Just because men don’t give birth, it doesn’t mean they don’t take part in the making of a child, and whether they get raped they would have to worry about becoming pregnant.

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