3.04.2008

The Pregnant King

Finally! The queerness that saturates Hindu mythology is given center-stage, instead of being miserably repressed into the background. The Pregnant King, a perfect title for such a gender-bending book, is by Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik and it focuses on certain stories of the Mahabharata. Easy to relate to in today’s queer world (note: a pinch of imagination needed as well!), are stories of machismo warriors being castrated, FTM able to father children with borrowed penises, and of course, a king that’s preggers!

Now, as a medical student, I am forced to go off on this tangent. How possible is male pregnancy? Surprisingly, it is theoretically achievable (warning: science babble ahead). With in vitro fertilization, the zygote may be transplanted ectopically (outside of the uterus), and can attach onto abdominal organs like the liver or colon. The zygote, not only develops into the fetus, but is also the source of part of the placenta, which nourishes the fetus; thus the placenta is able to grow in the abdomen as well. So, fetuses should be able to grow in males, right? Well, easier said than done. The right hormones need to be thrown into the mix, the male’s body needs to be able to adapt to the extra strain, and, don’t forget, guys don’t have a vagina – the baby would have to be caesarean sectioned!

OK, in summary: Check out the book. And don’t be too surprised if you see some daddy-mommas in the future.

4 comments:

a.kini said...

i can't help but be a little cautious of books like this. while it's definitely important to revisit/unearth stories from a cultural legacy, i think it's just as dangerous to view those stories (and derive meanings of them) from the the perspective of contemporary queer identities.

* Avani * said...

This is another book by Devdutt Pattanaik- http://www.amazon.com/Woman-Other-Haworth-Lesbian-Studies/dp/1560231807/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204823392&sr=8-9

NeroX2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NeroX2 said...

ok i see where you're coming from a.kini... but you also have to admit that a lot of the "queerness" that was originally in these stories has been taken out and downplayed. as these stories have been passed down from generation to generation they've been modified according to the current values that the society holds. so i think it's nice to finally acknowledge it.