Yet again, I hear that men find women disgusting during/after pregnancy.
It’s my own fault, I’ll be honest. We usually try to shut off the TV unless we’re watching something. The glowing screen and background noise are unnecessary and distracting, otherwise. Yet, somehow, the TV was left on and the couple from The King of Queens was bumbling and nagging across the screen. I don’t know how it happened, but it did. So let’s just accept it and move on.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this idea. Have you heard of this? There’s this notion that once a woman’s body is used to carry a child, it can no longer be seen as attractive. Not in the usual sense- the “holy crap, when did you get so FLABBY and SAGGY” sense because, well, even THAT I can try to understand. (and I’m doing my lunges and crunches with Jillian Michaels everyday, thankyouverymuch)
But, no. This is different- the idea that suddenly a man is forced into facing that your body is a biological organism with purposes other than satisfying him sexually. Your body does other things- like creating and sustaining life, for starters. This is unacceptable. Disgusting, even.
I feel like this idea perhaps connects to a subliminal cultural message- a message that women are objects intended solely for sex. If you’re not a sexual object, you can never be sexual. You’re one or the other. You’re Marilyn or you’re Jackie O. One can’t be both sexual AND a good woman, wife, friend, mother. So obviously, if this is the choice we’re given, and you’re in the process of carrying, birthing, feeding, or nurturing a baby (all but the “making” part, you’ll notice) you must be the latter.
The scary part about this subliminal message is that women also enforce it in their own terrible way. I remember reading one of those not-worth-the-paper-it’s-printed-on magazines- was it Cosmo? Glamour? Whatever. A very long article detailed how harmful it is for a relationship if the woman ever uses the bathroom in front of her man. Harmful. Because he then will be forced to reckon with the fact that that is used for other things. (Those magazines are a girl-on-girl crime.) The way to keep your man interested (because that’s what we must do, ladies! we must pry his little face around to focus on us! we must entertain and enchant him as he has no control of his attention span or fidelity!) is to keep your ladyparts a sacred and mysterious place.
If knowing you use the bathroom ruins your marriage, just IMAGINE what birthing a little squirmy goo-covered being would do.
But I’m just thinking aloud. Perhaps that’s not the root of this at all. Maybe good men do face some sort of struggle with recognizing all intents and purposes of female anatomy, in the way that I refuse to acknowledge that those fluffy squawking birds at Linvilla Orchards are the same mixed into my Caesar salad.
Have you heard of this idea before? What’s your take on it?
*Josh vows that he doesn’t feel this way. I DO know that he didn’t find me AS pretty when I was pregnant- not in a negative, ugly way. In an honest, “your body looks different than I’m used to” way that I can understand and I think we should acknowledge, instead of pretending. I don’t think this is nearly the same as the above.
**I asked Josh not to watch the business end while I gave birth. I didn’t want to see it. He didn’t want to see it. I don’t think this is the same as the above, either.