I’ve been thinking about this one for a while now. Actually I can tell you exactly since when: the first time I’ve began to show. As lovely and warm the wishes and congratulations are as upsetting are the comments about my weight gain. I’m sitting here in excitement for my baby and just in awe of the female body and how it does what it does.
I look at my naked self in the mirror and I think “I’m fucking beautiful”. I couldn’t wait for my belly to grow, to have a proper bump that I can stroke and tell stories to and who talks back to me with strong little kicks.
And then from time to time there are these comments that let me doubt my beautiful self for a second. Small ones and bigger ones, never meant to be hurtful on the surface, rather funny or “it’s just something you say” but let me tell you it’s not funny and it’s never good to just say something not because you agree with it but because that’s what we did for the last century.
It started with small things like greeting me with “Hey fatty!” (“Hey Dicke”). Even if it’s accompanied with a smile and a hug it feels weird on different levels. First, what does that mean? Truly, I don’t get it. Is this a “cute” way of saying I love your belly or do you just have something against people who have curves in general? If it’s the latter I would conclude it’s meant as an insult (not just to me by the way…). I responded with “I’m building a human being here, mate” – accompanied with a smile that grew angrier every time someone said something like this to me till I just stopped responding and went to ignoring those comments. Because if I would have responded the way I was feeling (“the angry way”) I assumed I would have received the “don’t be so sensitive”, “oh the hormones” or “it was just a joke/I don’t mean it like that” response. I know maybe not but I was and am just too tired to bet on it. So after getting all these different nicknames like “Moppelchen” (“little chubby”), “Big Mama”, “Fette” (“fatty”) or super hilarious jokes like “Should we open both doors?” or “Do you need two seats?” or even comments like “I cant wait to see you becoming fat (finally)” I began to realise what’s happening here.
Once again it’s a structural issue in our patriarchal society. Women need to be and look a certain way – thereby it doesn’t matter how they feel, how they want to look like or if they’re experiencing nature’s biggest miracle. And what’s truly upsetting me is that most of these comments are coming from women (who are moms) themselves. Or maybe I’m not as surprised by the male comments because it kind of always has been this way since I was a teenager. And I can imagine that it won’t stop there – once I have our little boy and my body went through this magical thing called birth which is at the same time the most exhausting, strenuous, athletic activity a human being can do, the comments may change to “You look good – not at all like just had a baby” or “You look good for a mom”. I don’t blame them. I did it myself after seeing a friend who had a baby a couple of months ago I said “You look great” – I left out “for a mom” but did I really? Especially for women we always carry a template with us, comparing each other and comparing the template that got branded into our brain for centuries (by male-led traditions and expectations) with the women we meet daily and with ourselves. So I believe these comments are actually reflections of this life-long infiltration. We don’t really want to hurt each other, we’re “just” structurally conditioned to think that way. Let’s stop.
Let us honestly compliment each other for all our accomplishments. Let us embrace the beautiful pregnancy bellies around the world. Let us support each other (female, male or x). Let us empower each other to be whoever we want to be. Simply let us be kind to each other.
And let us think about the words we use and let us use the right ones.
We all know them.