The Belly: Community Property

Why are people so fascinated with the pregnant belly? I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this one! I was watching this TEDTalk (video shown below) and this concept called The

Willendorf Effect is mentioned. It’s described as a woman’s transition from the object of beauty and love to an object of reproductivity. She is no longer sensual and desirable but is now primarily seen as a baby maker. The concern for the woman goes from personal to communal.

What she eats, how she dresses, even down to the types of movement she makes is now also

the concern of others. Pause for a moment and think of a point in time when your personal life involuntarily becomes public. The feelings that come to mind are embarrassing, terrifying, and at the least anxiety provoking.

I can’t help but recall experiences I had while pregnant. Random people touching me, asking

me the sex of the baby followed by a bunch of old wives tales. It’s a girl if I’m sitting high, or a boy if I’m sitting low. It’s a boy because my nose was swollen or a girl because my skin was

glowing. Commenting on my weight-don’t get me started on that one. Strangers were suddenly giving me advice on things to eat or NOT eat, how to induce labor, and even encouraging me to have sex! Most of those interactions were comical but there were times that felt like quite an invasion of space and privacy.

It's so interesting how invested the community can become in your life when you are pregnant. Some women may be more than happy to have people who show their love and support in this manner but more likely than not, its invasive. No one likes to be touched unless it's WELCOMED, or have features highlighted that are not desired, such as swollen feet or ankles, or weight gain!

I would like to take a moment and address this:

To the non pregnant person:

If you were pregnant before, save the war stories and wish the current preggo well. Show kindness, open the door, give up a seat, or help with the groceries instead of commenting on her physical features.

To the Pregnant woman:

It’s ok to say no or tell others not to touch you. It’s also ok to shake your head at the folly of others, brush the comments off and live your best life.

Here’s the referenced TedTalk:


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