I’ve just finished reading Rosi Braidotti’s Mothers, Monsters, and Machines, and didn’t find it especially useful. There is nothing wrong with the essay itself; the writing is solid, the essay is well researched, and the argument is easy to find and follow. The issue is that the essay is from 1994, making it 20 years old: the main argument, that historical ideas about monstrosity and the risks of female power (a female gaze, but also the power of re/production) are germinal to today’s practices of medicalising and thus scrutinising the female body, and especially the reproductive female body. Additionally, the essay has some severe blind spots that are reflective, I think, of the cultural climate (in general and within feminist discourses) at the time. Specifically, the text takes up a discussion of historical ideas about abnormality and monstrosity, extends those ideas into medicalisation, and fails to consider how the same discourses continue to impact, for example, on trans and intersex bodies.
In any case, useful or not, it feels good to have some kind of momentum in my research again.