The latest scientific discovery is that pregnant women “don’t tip over” because of “evolutionary adaptations in the female spine.”
So look at these photos:
Now look at these photos:
The women in all but the bottom photo are nine months’ pregnant (and some of the women in the bottom photo may be, as well).
Why would anyone think any of these women might “tip over”? But if they did for some reason, why wouldn’t the men with the beer guts in the above photos also “tip over”? And especially given that in general, women have broader hips, fatter butts and thicker thighs than men do, such that the huge beer bellies seem even more precariously balanced resting atop the flat rears and chicken legs?
Whatever changes scientists may have discovered in the spines and bodies of pregnant women would seem to me to be as likely to be the body’s adaptation to the pregnancy. Bodies generally do adjust to added weight, i.e., when people gain fat, the body adapts to the greater body weight by also adding muscle to support it.
Those of us who are mothers know all of the many bodily, physical adaptations of motherhood over the years. I have one hip that will always be higher than the other, for example, because of my many years of carrying children on my hip. My breasts are larger after having had children than they were before I had them, because of the growth in milk ducts. I have very strong upper arms and forearms because I’ve used them to lift so many little ones over so many years. I have eyes in the back of my head. :p
Anyway. These are examples of the body’s adjusting to various stresses, strains, changes and repetitive movements. Why is it that this particular connection is made as to men — i.e., men’s muscularity (or not) is understood to be a result of the work men do (or not) — whereas women’s bodies are endlessly scrutinized for evidence of “natural”, “inborn,” innate, or “evolutionary adaptations” which oh-so-conveniently mark us as “uniquely suited” to the gender stereotypes male heterosupremacy imposes on us? The way the study is being reported is also sexist and insulting with article titles like, “Women Wobble But They Don’t Fall Down,” mocking and stereotyping pregnant women as fragile incompetents whose balance seems so precarious it becomes a matter of scientific research– the obvious inference being that their abilities to work and function normally in daily life are suspect. In fact, we all know that there are millions and probably billions of women whose pregnancies pass unnoticed until the eighth or ninth month, or who function completely competently on the job, including physically demanding jobs, and in their daily lives even when they are noticeably pregnant.
Finally, as an aside, note the way ordinary men compete for the most impressive beer belly (Google “beer belly contests”) happily and proudly displaying their guts for photos and posting them to the internet.
What would happen if women (who were not pregnant) did the same?
This rant brought to you courtesy of Heart, tired of sexist approaches to scientific “research.”