chapter  15
12 Pages

Bestial imaginings

ByKathy Rudy

There’s a 1999 short story that circulates in many women’s studies classes around the country called ‘Confessions of a Bioterrorist’, by Berkeley women’s studies professor Charis Thompson Cussins. 1 In those feminist classes that focus largely on reproductive technologies, this fi ctional essay is virtually canonical. It tells the story of Mary, mother of two, a successful reproductive animal physiologist who works in a ‘frozen zoo’, collecting and freezing sperm, eggs, and embryos from animals on the brink of extinction. A madcap, pseudo-scientifi c adventure about Mary and her two friends Gabriella and Eva, the story is written in a detailed, terse, and quite funny style, with lots of comic inference about ejaculation and other bodily functions. As a result of the infl uence of her politically correct and environmentally conscientious friends (and a few other chance encounters with Western cowboys and African bushmen), in the end, Mary decides to implant bonobo embryos into her own uterus. The story ends just as the bonobo baby is being born. It’s been Xeroxed and PDF’d and passed around at feminist conferences and women’s studies departments for years now. Students love it.