I was recently on the Buttered Pop podcast to recap an episode of the wildly popular Bravo show Vanderpump Rules. While there are no pregnant characters on the show… yet, there was a story-line about a character receiving unsolicited comments on her body from another (male) character. While delving into this with the podcast host Armin Mahramzadeh, he and I discussed the concept of a man weighing in to criticize and heavily scrutinize a woman’s body. We wondered if 2018 would finally be the year for men to take a second look at this habitual and (also unfortunately) historic behavior, realizing how wrong it is to issue these types of intrusive remarks.
Even men who profess to be feminists and to understand women, should think before making a nasty barb about the female bod…
Because guess what, men? You are men. Whether you are gay or straight, single or in a relationship, live with a woman or do not: You have no firsthand understanding of the female anatomy, hormones and related weight fluctuations like someone with an actual female body has. Often enough, you’ve exhibited that you have no concept of what a realistic female body type is, what is desirable versus what is achievable.
I feel the above frustrations as a woman and I also remember feeling a great deal of annoyance – amplified by overwhelming surges in hormones – when I was pregnant.
Until I actually started to show during my first pregnancy, I had no idea that that time period in my life would open the floodgates to all sorts of unsolicited commentary. It boggled my mind then that folks felt they had license to issue all sorts of rude and tasteless insults to the most hormonal people on the planet, expecting it to roll right off their backs. With the subsequent two pregnancies, I still remained aghast though perhaps, I was a bit prepared. Otherwise, pregnancy is a blessing and having gone the fertility route to achieve a sustainable pregnancy, I felt super thankful and appreciative to even have this time to complain…..Still, the sorts of things that people will say – I will never forget some of those comments!
In retrospect, I can laugh at the ridiculousness, but in the moment, I really just wanted to school people on the things they shouldn’t be saying.
Can you imagine if I walked over to a man and said “Oh my God, you are so fucking bald! What happened to all of your hair?” Something tells me it wouldn’t go over well at all, that it would be seriously shocking and be perceived as terribly inappropriate. So the fact that it is far less shocking to tell a woman “You are huge!” while staring at her belly (pregnant or not, because people never cease to amaze me) is appalling.
My experience with pregnancy – three times- is what inspired me to write a little skit that was performed in an Off Broadway production a few years ago under the directorship of Aliza Shane and the 3V Theater company.
Without further adieu, I present you with “Sh*t People Say to Pregnant Women” and perhaps after you read it, you’ll remember to insert your own pregnant pauses into conversations about women’s bodies:
“Are you seriously eating that?”
“Are you going to eat ALL that?!”
“I never ate that much when I was pregnant…”
[Laughing and pointing] “Talk about ‘eating for two’!”
“You know that you don’t really need to’ eat for two.’ The baby is the size of a lima bean.”
“YOU are going to gain so…much…WEIGHT!”
“Oh wow, [slaps head] you’re pregnant! I thought you just got fat.”
“Your nose has gotten wider; you must be having a girl!”
“Your nose has gotten wider; you must be having a boy!”
“You must be having a girl. Girls suck out all your beauty…”
“Don’t you love how now you can just let yourself go and eat whatever you want?”
“Oh, no wonder you’re letting yourself go!”
“No wonder you’re eating so much!”
“Oh, you’re showing early because you’re so skinny.”
“My other friend who’s pregnant didn’t show as early because SHE’S thin.”
“I wasn’t sure it was a PREGNANT belly. I thought it might just be a MARRIED belly.”
“Oh, I knew it! I just knew it! I knew it before you told me!”
“I thought your face was getting a little fat.”
“I noticed your boobs were looking bigger.”
“Oh, phew, I really was wondering why you were suddenly getting so chunky.”
“Ohhhh. Can I touch it?”
“Should you be eating that?”
“Should you be drinking that?”
“You know you shouldn’t be eating that.”
“You SURE you’re not having twins?”
“Twins? You are going to BURST!”
“One’s gotta be hiding behind another. That happened to my mother’s sister’s cousin-in-law’s best friend’s aunt’s daughter.”
[Whispers confidentially] “Could it be triplets?”
“Well, it definitely has to be twins! You’re too big to be carrying only one. I don’t believe you…”
“You’re too small. Are you sure you’re eating enough?”
“I don’t care what your Doctor says, I KNOW you’re having twins!”
“You’re HUGE! …oh, it’s twins? [Nervously] you’re really carrying small. I hope the babies are ok.”
“Are you taking folic acid?”
“Are you taking your prenatal vitamin?”
“Natural or IVF?”
“Wow, you got pregnant fast at your age!”
“I guess your eggs weren’t fried after all, girl!”
“Wow, so close to your last baby?!”
“Weren’t you JUST pregnant?”
“Didn’t you just get married?”
“Don’t you believe in birth control?”
“What’s the rush?”
“Was this planned or…a surprise?”
“You’re having a baby?… I am so NOT a ‘kids person’!”
“Oh, I so hope it’s a girl since you already have a boy!”
“Will you be disappointed if it’s ANOTHER boy?”
“Are you finding out what you’re having?”
“Are you keeping it?”