Born to be Sold: Martha Rosler Reads the Strange Case of Baby $/M

1988, 35:18 min, color, sound

Born to be Sold is Paper Tiger Television and Rosler's acerbic and witty interpretation of the notorious "Baby M" case, in which a natural — "surrogate" — mother and father of a baby fought each other for custody of the child. Rosler assumes various roles of the participants in the controversy, from the baby to the sperm, from the lawyer to the judge, as well as the two women in the case. Reconstructing the story from its trial by media and the court transcripts, Rosler views "surrogate" mother Mary Beth Whitehead's actions as an attempt to defy the identity assigned by her class and gender, and sees the verdict favoring the Sterns as an endorsement of the father's phallic right, his jurisprudential entitlement. Her analysis demonstrates how political, class and ideological systems are played out on the body of the woman.

Produced by Paper Tiger Television.

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