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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Mindfuck of Male Pregnancy

posted by on July 17 at 14:22 PM


The most recent Stranger is graced by a feature by Jen Graves, which is primarily about the prospect of male pregnancy (it’s not science fiction) but branches out into some amazing supplementary territory, touching on the mindfuck of miscarriage, infant mortality, and humankind’s klutziness in dealing with both.

But mostly it’s about dudes carrying babies to term inside their hairy dude bodies, and all my follow-up rumination on the piece centers on the freaky implications of making pregnancy a cross-gender option.

Lesbian couples making a family with donated sperm have been having this discussion for years: Who’s gonna carry this thing? Who gets to get fat and eat whatever they want and pee all the time and vomit in the mornings and stink in weird new ways, all over? Which partner gets to keep her (or his) basic shape? And who gets the ineffable experience of being a (birth) mother?

(Tellingly, one of the quoted responses to these questions in Jen’s piece is from a gay guy who can’t imagine willingly allowing himself or anyone he’s romantically involved with to get all fat with child. Obvious Plan B: Adopt and stay pretty.)

Anyway, if you haven’t read the piece yet, do it now.

RSS icon Comments


I guess I'm in the minority of men who aren't entirely repelled by the idea of bearing a child themselves. I actually kind of like the idea. Then again, I also like the idea of marrying a man willing to bear my child. If I marry a woman, children would be a big deal for me... I don't think I could marry a woman who didn't want children. Or a man for that matter... adopted or sci-fi male-pregnancy babies.

Posted by Phelix | July 17, 2007 2:36 PM

I wish it was actually Patrick pictured on the cover. His morning glory tattoo is much prettier than the ink worn by the model.

Posted by Ariel | July 17, 2007 2:41 PM

Ewwwwww! Gross out. Hopefully I'll be long dead and buried before male pregancy technology matures.

Posted by raindrop | July 17, 2007 2:42 PM

That was a GREAT article. I loved it, and forwarded the URL to my friends. Very intersting topics brought up. Kudos.

Posted by Original Monique | July 17, 2007 2:52 PM

Yeah, this was a fantastic article. Thanks so much for sharing such a personal story, Jen.

Posted by arduous | July 17, 2007 3:03 PM

It seemed more like an exercise with the author's current neurosis. I'm not snarking or being cynical for cynicism's sake. It really did seem more like a personal exercise than any sort of exploration.

Posted by Gomez | July 17, 2007 3:06 PM

Gomez @6,

Pregnancy (and all the complications that can arise) are incredibly personal. Jen's shared history with pregnancy brought life to a story that would have otherwise been reduced to flat scientific conjecture.

I loved it.

Posted by cienna | July 17, 2007 3:29 PM

I loved it, too. It took a lot of courage for Jen to put herself out there like that, especially on the topic of gender roles which people are mega-touchy about.

Thanks for that.

Posted by Original Andrew | July 17, 2007 3:49 PM

I thought it was great. I've actually read more science-based articles about the subject, and the melding of Jen's experience gave her a human element that the other articles have lacked. Good job.

Having said that, I'm not all sure this is a good thing. A significant factor in the problems currently facing humanity, most notably the environmental damage we are facing, is overpopulation. A lot of our problems would go away if the planet had about 1/4 of the population we now have, and could stabilize at that number. We could bring most pollution under control fairly easily. We wouldn't have to war over scarce oil reserves. We wouldn't be fishing the oceans into extinction. And so on. The Chinese, draconian as they are, have been the only society willing to make any serious attempt at zero population growth.

Opening up the entire male population to the possibility of bearing children will make it all the more difficult to ever get to a zero population growth.

Male pregnancy is a cool scientific advance, but please people, adopt. Adopt.

Posted by SDA in SEA | July 17, 2007 4:13 PM

the melding of Jen's experience gave her a human element that the other articles have lacked.

Word. I finally got around to reading the piece yesterday, and I loved it, too. Honestly, I thought the personal take was a good one; interesting as the science is, I personally find the societal implications a lot more interesting, and she really touched on the edges of that.

I also really loved Aaron Bagley's art that you've reposted here... Great piece all around.

Posted by Darcy | July 17, 2007 4:56 PM

What sucks about male pregnancy is that everyone just thinks you have a gigantic beer belly. I'd still do it.

Posted by boy | July 17, 2007 6:02 PM

Cienna@7: I still agree with Gomez. That article was an exercise in navelgazing. Pun totally intended.

Posted by ka-chunk | July 17, 2007 6:22 PM

Too boring; can't read it. Who wrote it? Who's that?

Posted by Graves, as in bored to death | July 17, 2007 7:45 PM

Yay, more transhuman blather. But this time with a human face! I think there are bigger problems to tackle than the silly, entitled "me me" desire to have babies among some men. Unless it serves a utility other than making men more "womanlike" (which I'm sure is a big plus among essentialist feminists who actually think childbearing naturally makes you more sensitive), it's not worth exploring outside sci-fi novels. Now, reproduction that gets rid of pregnancy for both sexes is something I can get behind.

Posted by Jay | July 17, 2007 8:00 PM

The only useful application I can think of is collapsing both sexes into one. But I'm not sure that's advisable either.

Posted by Jay | July 17, 2007 8:03 PM

I know it's sexist of me, but I've always thought that one of the perks of being a gay man is never having to deal with pregnancy. No way either I or my husband would bear a baby.

Posted by Gitai | July 17, 2007 10:18 PM

I had a hard time getting past the title. It sounds too much like one of those gay bareback pornos they show at places like The Eagle.

Why am I suddenly making all these references to porn?

Posted by catalina vel-duray | July 17, 2007 11:34 PM

Talk about the "medicalization" of pregnancy and childbirth! This would take it to a whole new level. Every single part of a man's pregnancy would be mediated through technology and pharmaceuticals--the way women's pregnancies have come to be, only much more so (to the point that we now this this is normal and good).

That child wouldn't be gestated so much as manufactured--literally.

Nice piece, though--liked it a lot.

Posted by toadmommy | July 18, 2007 10:40 AM

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