using the virgin birth concept in a setting

Discussions about constructed worlds, cultures and any topics related to constructed societies.
Post Reply
Sharad9
rupestrian
rupestrian
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun 02 Apr 2017, 19:14

using the virgin birth concept in a setting

Post by Sharad9 » Fri 22 Jun 2018, 20:03

supernatural pregnancies like the virgin births have played a role in mythological myths and modern media, such as Anakin Skywalker and the midiclorians. Most of those stories mostly skip over real world consequences and uncomfortable questions. What I was interested in doing was deconstructing that trope and show this in a more realistic way. Part of the intent is to highlight the ramifications of having motherhood forced on an individual unexpectedly through unknown means and whatever resulting issues the person may have with that (confusion, issues with consent, etc), plus the larger ramifications for society in general. One idea is to make it less of a "miracle" and more a very rare condition that the scientific community is at a loss to explain. This form of parthenogenesis has been documented for several decades, and any female of childbearing age appears to be susceptible. DNA testing reveals that the resulting offspring is a genetic clone of its mother, with no biological linkage to any male father. Due to its randomness, it has been marked as a medical illness.

Are there any books or media that handle this topic? what real world factors should one consider when writing it?
User avatar
eldin raigmore
fire
fire
Posts: 6168
Joined: Sat 14 Aug 2010, 18:38
Location: SouthEast Michigan

Re: using the virgin birth concept in a setting

Post by eldin raigmore » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 01:45

Sharad9 wrote:
Fri 22 Jun 2018, 20:03
what real world factors should one consider when writing it?
“Whether or not the story would sell”, seems to me to be the biggest real-world factor you’d need to consider, but haven’t mentioned.

As near as I can tell you’ve thought of everything along the lines of “whether or not the story would seem realistically possible”.

Good luck!
User avatar
elemtilas
runic
runic
Posts: 3184
Joined: Sat 22 Nov 2014, 04:48

Re: using the virgin birth concept in a setting

Post by elemtilas » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 01:48

Sharad9 wrote:
Fri 22 Jun 2018, 20:03
supernatural pregnancies like the virgin births have played a role in mythological myths and modern media, such as Anakin Skywalker and the midiclorians. Most of those stories mostly skip over real world consequences and uncomfortable questions. What I was interested in doing was deconstructing that trope and show this in a more realistic way. Part of the intent is to highlight the ramifications of having motherhood forced on an individual unexpectedly through unknown means and whatever resulting issues the person may have with that (confusion, issues with consent, etc), plus the larger ramifications for society in general. One idea is to make it less of a "miracle" and more a very rare condition that the scientific community is at a loss to explain. This form of parthenogenesis has been documented for several decades, and any female of childbearing age appears to be susceptible. DNA testing reveals that the resulting offspring is a genetic clone of its mother, with no biological linkage to any male father. Due to its randomness, it has been marked as a medical illness.

Are there any books or media that handle this topic? what real world factors should one consider when writing it?
A couple thoughts & comments (hope I'm not misinterpreting what you're after!):

First, if you're talking about parthenogenisis, by the time science is even invented, this would already be a well known (if relatively rare) means of getting pregnant. There are no issues of force here (as these females are not being raped or forcibly inseminated). There are no issues of consent, either. There being no action to consent to. As a socio-medical condition, it's like getting the flu. You don't "consent" to that either, but it happens sometimes (and sometimes it happens to you!) and you deal and life goes on.

Also, if these people are humans or near-humans, pregnancy is not a thing that women control. Without advanced science and technology, you can not "force motherhood" on a woman through pregnancy. It just happens when everything is aligned right: all those hormones sloshing around at just the right time, ovulation and a coupling occurring within the narrow window.

That people can't explain how this kind of pregnancy works might cause myths to be made. Myths being what they are, people will invent various explanations, and there may be ramifications as a result how clever or how horrid those explanations are. Social ramifications, I think, will largely be how any given culture has come to react these events. Are they fearful of moral corruption? Mistrustful of capricious gods? Disgusted that a girl could so willfully shame herself and her family?

I do find it sad that, in this society, such a pregnancy is still labelled an "illness". Being preggers isn't a disease!

An angle you might consider looking into is cultural practices surrounding parthenogenesis. I could envision a culture, for example, that would respond to pregnancy in a hymen-intact virgin not with scorn, but with festivities and competitions. The pregnancy being virginal, the child must be destined for shamanhood. But the child also needs a father! All the eligible young men of the area compete for the honor of being her consort. There will be hunts and roasts and lavish "wedding" ceremonies and the young couple will shag themselves silly resulting in him "impregnating" her (after the fact as it may be).

I could see a culture that would explain such a pregnancy as a rape by an evil demon or god. In order to rebalance the universe, the demon has to be found, and where better to look than among the lusty young (unmarried) men of the area. Obviously one of them must have done it! Tests and labours defined by ancient custom for the purpose of outing the demon must be administered. The young fellow must be sacrificed in order to atone for his action and his blood will bathe his "victim" as a means of warding off demons from the village and protect the fatherless child.
Image

If we stuff the whole chicken back into the egg, will all our problems go away? --- Wandalf of Angera
User avatar
LinguistCat
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 138
Joined: Sat 06 May 2017, 06:48

Re: using the virgin birth concept in a setting

Post by LinguistCat » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 03:16

As a side note about parthenogenesis (since I did a lot of research about it for a conspecies of my own), the child would only be a clone of the mother if the mother herself was homozygous for both alleles of every gene. However, in humans, the child WOULD almost always be XX female (problems with duplicating chromosomes could on occasion result in XO females or XXX female or other such chromosomal conditions, but they would never be an XY individual, or someone with the SRY gene).

Parthenogenesis isn't cloning in the way most people think of it. How parthenogenesis normally happens, in species that do have it, is the egg cell of the mother is formed as normal and afterward is prompted to copy the genetic info it has then begin duplicating itself as if it were fertilized. If the mother herself is the result of parthenogenesis, her offspring will be genetic clones of her. If the mother was the result of a sexual pairing, her offspring will have homozygous copies of half her genes. If she's a species like the komodo dragon where females are WZ and males are ZZ, all her offspring will be male. I don't know about any parthenogenetic species that determine sex by temperature so I can't tell you how that would work out.
Post Reply