Thursday, July 12, 2007


First thing I did when I got in late to work this morning was read this article about the possibilities and possible consequences of male pregnancy. (Again, like the bird flu article, it's more sociological/editorial than scientific, though the science in the article is cited.)

When I started reading the article I was reminded of something I came across yesterday, an essay about the argument "Woman's body, woman's choice" in the whole abortion debate. The author pointed out how in some respects, saying that it should be solely the mother's decision whether or not to keep a baby does less to empower women and more to reinforce gender roles and the definition of woman as baby-making machine.

I don't know if I agree with that, but it is an interesting point. If what we're really concerned with is gender equality, what could have a more equalizing effect on society than for both men and women to be able to give birth?

As the author of the male pregnancy article says (quoting the movie Junior, actually), an emotional argument against male pregnancy is that men get everything else in this world; they should get to have babies, too. But if couples could choose who bears the children, if that choice is actually available and the role isn't just automatically assigned, I think that the "men have everything" view of society would change. Not that men would have less, but that women would have more, because there would no longer be the same stigmas and stereotypes about pregnancy and childbearing/rearing that are attached to being female in our civilizations. (Down the road a bit, of course--I can only imagine what the immediate culture climate would be in reaction to the first instances of real male pregnancy, and I imagine it would be ugly.)

Of course, male and female pregnancy wouldn't be exactly equivalent. Among other anatomy-related issues, men will only ever be able to get pregnant through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), while women can get pregnant through IVF and sexual intercourse.

[Mmm, I started this post yesterday morning and then stopped thinking about it. I don't remember if I had more to say. Perhaps I'll come back to it.]

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