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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hide your heart under the bed and lock your secret door

Yesterday evening I wanted to throw something at the radio, but for once, it was not because my journalism standards are higher than those of people who are actually in the profession.

It was because of an interview with a local woman who wanted to talk about the shame she’d felt after having a certain medical procedure. You see, she’d been pregnant, and always intended to do things a certain way, but later changed her mind. She felt a deep sense of shame and her family was disappointed in her. In fact, she was afraid to tell her family, and this was clearly a reasonable feeling considering their reaction.

She’d had an epidural.

THE HORROR! THE DISGRACE!

It’s official: There is no decision a woman can make about her reproductive health that others will not feel free to judge her for.

No kids? She’s selfish!

One kid? She’s still selfish, and she probably hates children!

Three or more kids? She’s irresponsible and possibly a sex addict!

She uses the pill? She’s definitely a sex addict!

She’s had her tubes tied? She’s short-sighted and stupid!

She doesn’t want to use hormonal contraception? Stay away! She’s a lefty and will probably preach at you about putting Birkenstocks in your vermicomposter!

This is a new one. I didn’t realize that women were being guilt-tripped out of having epidurals. Well, I knew that there is an anti-painkiller movement, but hearing women talk openly about the shame they felt after taking the drugs is new for me.

This is the last straw. I’ve put up with the talk about working moms (we are selfish!) and stay-at-home-moms (they are just begging for everyone to hate them!) for years. It seems that women just can’t win. I’ve read a lot of profiles of women: they often mention that so-and-so has a fabulous career EVEN THOUGH she has kids. Oddly enough, I have never ever read a profile of a man that talked about the many things he has accomplished EVEN THOUGH he has kids. These stories almost never show the man packing lunches, attending soccer games or doing anything that would normally be expected of a mother. If this information is included, it is there to demonstrate that he is such an angel that he has taken on both parental roles (perhaps his wife has died).

I have an idea. Let’s set a new standard for men. They should have to go through surgery without anesthetic. Those who think the pain is too much for them should feel ashamed of themselves because they’re not “man” enough. Also, they should have their reproductive choices scrutinized so they can be judged accordingly. Finally, they should be made responsible for all parental duties and (again) judged accordingly. If they are late for work because the kids had to be dropped off at school, it should be noted on their personnel files. They should be passed over for promotions because they might not be available for free overtime during soccer practice. If they do make themselves available, they should be known as selfish jerks who don’t care about their families. This will do for a start. I’m sure we can come up with other standards as we go along.

2 comments:

A. said...

The inequality between fathers and mothers can be nutty. I found an article the other day that showed how men received lesser punishments than women for the same type of crime.

Speaking of what men should do, how about doing away with the expectant father saying that "we" are pregnant? I don't recall them reporting hemorrhoids and morning sickness.

Torq said...

I was actually just chastised for not using the "we" to describe the potential future condition of my wifes pregnancy.

It seems that I just can't win.