Nothing instills a fear of pregnancy more than watching childbirth scenes that take place during the Medieval period.. or the Renaissance... or during the Enlightenment... or any time, really, before the twentieth century. Screaming mistresses/courtesans/queens/princesses lay flushed in their canopied doily beds as frantic women flutter about the room, dipping cloths in hot water. Onscreen stories from the olden days are generally about royal or famously wealthy and powerful families, so the message we get is that childbirth was a horrifying pursuit, even for the always-beautiful progeny of the upper classes.
Tropes vs. Women is a six-part video series by Feminist Frequency that explores the reoccurring stories, themes and representations of women in Hollywood films and TV shows.
The Mystical Pregnancy is a trope writers use to create drama and terror by invading, violating and exploiting women's reproductive capabilities. Often these female characters have their ovaries harvested by aliens or serve as human incubators for demon spawn. Sometimes they are carrying the Messiah and other times Satan himself.
Bravo's latest reality series, Pregnant in Heels, follows clothing designer and "Pregnancy Concierge" (which basically means just what you think it means: doing stuff for pregnant people) Rosie Pope as she deals with clients whom she's dubbed "million dollar moms." Only one episode of the show has aired so far, but it's already being billed as showcasing the "bitchiest" women ever while they're at their hormone-fueled worst. Call me a bleeding-heart, reality-television-loving apologist if you must, but after watching the pilot episode I think some of that snark is missing the point.
On Saturday night, my partner and I were walking out of a local grocer when he decided to buy one of the newspapers being sold by the homeless couple on the corner. I was holding our grocery bag as Andreas paid for the paper, and as the woman handed it to him, she asked him something, then reached over and patted my stomach before he steered me away. I chuckled as we turned towards home. "Why did she poke me? That was funny," I said, because I hadn't caught what they said and didn't understand what I did hear. He looked at me, stricken, and began to shake his head. Then it hit me. She wanted to know when I'm due.
Even though we're three feature films away from the conclusion of the Twilight film series (Eclipse premiers at the end of this month), there's already talk of what the adaptation of Breaking Dawn, the final book in the series that is being broken into two movies, is going to include...or more specifically leave out, namely Bella's bone-breaking, blood-soaked, and almost-lethal delivery of her vampire baby.
I've hesitated about tackling this particular topic, but with the recent proximity of Mother's Day and the 50th anniversary of The Pill, I figured there was never going to be a better time to address it. My hesitation stems from a reluctance to drag biology into the equation and to bring up some unpleasant home truths that can't be advocated or educated away.
This week, an unnamed woman gave birth to eight children after recieving fertility treatment. As details of her background surface, so does criticism and questions about her choice to raise a total of fourteen young children.