TONE DEAF

The Sydney Morning Herald recently republished a Washington Post article, keeping the original title: “Sugar isn’t that different to smoking for pregnant women”.

The article was subsequently republished at Daily Life with a title more appropriate to the site’s more aggressive – hysterically outraged – tone: “We need a war on secondhand sugar”.

The article grabs for attention at the start but is actually benign, merely cautioning that pregnant women shouldn’t overindulge in sugary foods:

If you saw a pregnant woman smoking, you would undoubtedly be concerned about the health of her child. But if you saw a pregnant woman drinking a soft drink, would you bat an eye? The comparison may seem extreme, but the parallels between tobacco and sugar run deeper than you might imagine.

There is no debate that secondhand smoke is harmful. Now scientists are discovering similar risks of “secondhand sugars” in infants and children, specifically that our high-sugar environment can harm children’s development and their long-term health.

We are finding that sugar exposure can begin to affect a child even before birth. The sugars that a mother consumes while pregnant or nursing can be passed to her baby,disrupt healthy growth and development, and pose risk for obesity.

Well, that makes perfect sense, which is probably why a resident Fairfax femifascist and perpetual victim who obviously enjoys sugar, and alcohol, is typically outraged:

I’m not going to dispute the science around excessive sugar consumption, especially the addictive properties and empty nutritional value of high fructose corn syrup, but I take exception to the tone of judgement that accompanies the piece. A foetus is already the property of everyone but the person carrying it, and this just contributes to that narrative.

At university, we used to jokingly refer to heterosexual people as “breeders”, because heteronormativity was boring and children were especially boring and it stood to reason that the two should be mashed together to make a boring unit. “Breeders” referred to men and women and was used equally for both.

But breeders as a stand-in for cis-het couples isn’t exactly correct either. In the grand conception (pun intended) of the role of ‘breeder’, men are conveniently left out. Men can come and go as they please. It’s women who are policed by pregnancy, whether they’re in it, plan to be in it, claim to never want to be in it, or did it once upon a time.

The judgment starts before those two lines even appear; women who are “trying” are told to reduce their alcohol intake, increase their folate and omega-3 fatty acids consumption and maintain a healthy BMI (a measurement of health and weight that is actually bullshit). Oh, and don’t leave it too late either – old eggs are haggard and unreliable and those geriatric pregnancies (an actual medical term for pregnant women over the age of 35) can’t be trusted.

The rant’s author is, of course, hyper-judgemental Clementine – “I don’t care , I have morning sickness, give me some thalidomide, now!” – Ford, who continues:

Pregnancy is hard and it’s made much harder by the fact that everybody feels not only entitled to their opinion but also to their input. And that’s before you even consider indicators of other oppressions like poverty, race or disability. It needs to stop. The only people who have the right to discuss any elements of a pregnancy are the person carrying it and their health care provider/s.

And if the public and the government alike insist on continuing to monitor, judge and dictate the conditions of pregnancy, maybe they should just do it properly – invest in sprawling pregnancy centres where birth vessels can go to be taken care of by being fed the ‘right’ foods, instructed in the right behaviours and given a daily regime of massages, gentle Pilates and meditation.

And then when the baby arrives, those same centres can be involved in the care and labour involved in parenting them – the rocking, the bouncing, the sleep training, the endless feeding, the playing with, the entertaining, the cooing and the trying not to breakdown when they’re crying for the fifth time that morning because they don’t know how take a nap.

Nah, didn’t think so. So if you can’t back your critique up with action, back off instead.

Unlike many millions of women worldwide Ms Ford enjoys neither pregnancy nor motherhood. Next she’ll complain about the sex leading to her unfortunate plight.

Postscript: As an example of Ford’s “judgemental tone”, here’s an excerpt from her immediately prior Daily Life column:

In an interview with Marie Claire UK, [Ashton] Kutcher’s former co-star Natalie Portman had revealed she was paid three times less than he was for their movie No Strings Attached. Kutcher responded by tweeting a link to the article and telling Portman he was “proud” of her “and all women who stand up for closing the gender pay gap!”.

Hello Giggles lost its mind in response, writing an entire piece about how ah-may-zing he is that culminated in this vomitous passage: “As if we needed another reason to love Ashton Kutcher… but seriously, we’re so freaking proud of him for supporting his colleague and raising awareness about the shocking gender pay gap that affects so many women.”

Oh, and Natalie Portman is cool too, they guess.

This might seem like a tiny detail and I’ll no doubt receive another slew of emails telling me I’m a bitter swamp monster who hates men and sunshine and happiness (all correct, obviously). But is it seriously impressive that a man who received three times as much money as a colleague performing the same work, only acknowledged that discrepancy in a tweet?

Where was Kutcher’s incredible support when the discovery of the pay gap was made? And why are some women so taken by such pathetic, limp expressions of allegiance?

Of course, more than a few people insist that the pay gap doesn’t exist. When evidence is presented to them, they argue that these decisions are made because women make poor long term investments – we have babies, which is gross and wrong and in no way the provision of an essential service that is undervalued to the point of farce.

The name Hello Giggles offers more than a hint as to its objective:

HelloGiggles is a positive online community for women (although men are always welcome!) covering the latest in beauty, fashion, lifestyle, female empowerment, culture, relationships, friendship, careers, and issues that matter most to young women’s lives. A platform for writers and artists to create and share, HelloGiggles welcomes reader contributions and publishes them daily.

Like all fringe-leftists Ford prefers to revel in negativity.

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