This article analyzes the consistent problematic of nonprocreative maternal identity, specifically its positioning in a heteronormative symbolic framework as the antithesis of biological or “real” motherhood. Using Lee Edelman’s work on the queer body’s relationship to a futural horizon, the first part addresses how the epistemological framework whereby nonprocreative maternal bodies are subjected to the image of the Child, a fantasy of wholeness, thematizes the nonprocreative maternal body as deviant and enacts a logic of repetition that supplements a heteronormative future. The second portion of this essay illustrates how, due to the monomaternalist matrix’s refusal to accept it as legitimate, the nonprocreative mother is effectively cast outside the symbolic network of heteronormativity, thereby affording it a heightened level of interconnectivity with other “deviant” bodies.1 This, as the article demonstrates, results in the formation of a maternal assemblage, a collection of disparate bodies connected by contagion, rather than in the reproduction of a heteronormative future. In the concluding section, this essay argues that the nonstratified maternal assemblage produces a queer child, an offspring that does not reorient and supplement the heteronormative structure but instead challenges it by infecting the futural horizon the child inhabits with alterity and difference.
Hicks, Charles E.
"The Maternal Assemblage: Nonprocreative Maternity as Contagion and Resistance,"
Journal of Feminist Scholarship:
14, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/jfs/vol14/iss14/2