Infertile Exclusions Countering Race-Based Hyperfertility Narratives Online

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Laura McCann


Women of color are more likely to experience infertility compared to white women. Despite this likelihood, infertility continues to be associated with whiteness. This study examines the historical and modern influences of the hyperfertility narrative, a pervasive master narrative linking race and reproduction. Studying Instagram posts about infertility and race, McCann argues that women of color have had to fight for their very inclusion within infertility identities, illustrating the continued rhetorical salience that dominant narratives of race and reproductive enforce within support-seeking environments like Instagram. Specifically, this study demonstrates how WOCr rhetors counter hyperfertility by co-constructing
new counternarratives that frame experiences of infertility through experiences with race and racism. These counternarratives involve three empowerment strategies: witnessing, visual counterstorying, and attribution. By studying how marginalized rhetors counter hyperfertility narratives, the study illustrates a kind of invitational knowledge-building that occurs within histories of race and reproduction. Overall, this work pushes scholars and practitioners in reproductive care to acknowledge how racial identities, and perhaps personhood itself, is de/valued around and through reproductive abilities.

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