Jennifer Aniston, Bill O'Reilly and the Hollywood Obsession with Artificial Insemination: Seriously?
When Jennifer Aniston and Bill O’Reilly are the voices of reason in a public debate there is cause for concern. While I don’t follow either of this unlikely pair, my “Sperm Donation” Google Alerts picked up a tiff between the two RE: Artificial Insemination and single motherhood. Preparing for the physical nausea I associated with O’Reilly commentary, I endeavored to investigate the alert. Turns out Jennifer Aniston’s movie, “The Switch” (formerly titled “The Baster” - yes, I know, we’ll discuss that ridiculousness later) is at the root of all the internet fodder. In an odd twist, this somewhat dated beef has been brought back to life in a variety of articles on the recent onslaught of movies about artificial insemination this year. Oy, you gotta love the internet.
Apparently, O’Reilly feels the movie, in which Aniston’s single 40-something character opts for artificial insemination, idealizes single motherhood. Aniston then responded to O’Reilly in the press with a variety of comments regarding the benefits of artificial insemination, the lack of need for a man to be a mother, and the liberation of motherhood. All the things one might need to tell themselves when their ex-husband left them to have like 15 children with a woman previously known for dressing like a vampire and making out with her brother on TV. But I digress….she works for UNICEF now.
The debate and the movie are merely symptomatic of what has become a greater Hollywood and media obsession with artificial insemination. From to The Back-Up Plan with J. Lo, to the Academy Award-nominated The Kids Are Alright, to two independent films at the most recent Tribeca Film Festival; Hollywood is fully-fascinated. Unfortunately the obsession is focused almost exclusively on one of the most troubling and ethically-challenging types of artificial insemination: the anonymous kind.
Take for example the name change from the title of “The Baster” to the “The Switch” - and I must pause here for a moment to thank who ever made that decision. Though, I’m already scarred from the horrible image of Aniston defiling a cooking utensil once warmly associated with Thanksgiving. But anyway, the name change points to a disinterest in the rather sterile and icky parts of artificial insemination. Instead, the interest and curiosity surround the anonymous donation, the unknown sperm, the “faceless” father, the football and fart-free “Invisible Man.” This isn’t surprising because the majority movies on artificial insemination are created or written from the perspective of donors and parents. A group for which, the “faceless father” involved in artificial insemination is more of a practical solution than the cause of deep seeded identity crisis; as it is for so many of the children it creates.Continued on the next page