• The National Advocates for Pregnant Women is filing the first federal lawsuit challenging fetal endangerment laws on behalf of Alicia Beltran, a pregnant Wisconsin woman who was court-ordered into 78-day stay at a drug treatment center to protect her fetus from an addiction she had already ended. [Feministing]
Imagine a woman who is actively in labor. Now, imagine her handcuffed. Attached to those handcuffs is a chain that links her wrists to a chain wrapped around her belly. That belly chain is the same weight as a bicycle chain. Attached to her belly chain is yet another chain that attaches to shackles around her feet.
Imagine going to the hospital like that. Now imagine not knowing when those chains will be removed and if they will come off in time to push the baby out.
The best stories are the juicy ones. This episode of our feminist pop culture podcast is all about pulp (timely, right?). We talk with best-selling thriller writer Chelsea Cain about how her pregnancy inspired her to get started writing gory stories and she reads us a horrific short story about a hungry zombie baby. Then, we feature a sneak-peek excerpt from Monica Nolan's new lesbian erotica pulp, Maxine Mainwearing: Lesbian Dilettante. Finally, we talk with everyone's favorite mystery writer Laura Lippman about love, money, and reality television.
But recently, rhetoric has taken the issue even further. Current public education campaigns imply that we have a civic duty to tell women when they should get pregnant and reinforce the idea that pregnant women's bodies are public property.
Last week, novelist Benjamin Percy was interviewed on the TODAY show about his experience of being "man pregnant." Percy wore a Japanese-engineered pregnancy suit for nine weeks in an effort to be a better father by gaining an understanding of what women go through when they're pregnant. When I saw the story (and the smug interview), I was uneasy. Not only was the interview tediously unfunnny, Percy's pregnancy suit struck me as a rude, half-baked attempt to figure out what the hell women have been complaining about since the beginning of time. But Percy's story, originally written for GQ's humor section, isn't the first "dude tries to approximate pregnancy" experiment we've seen lately.
In my last post, I wrote about (relatively) recent moral panics and the way they fixate on the foolish, experimental or wholly fabricated hedonism of teenagers or young adults. For this post, let's take a brief look at some of the notable, intoxication-related moral panics of the past.