Friday, March 2, 2012

What to Expect

Eat This, if You Dare, 2011

Ah Slate, hitting out of the park again.

I thought I was the only one who took issue with that dreadful book, What to Expect When You're Expecting. Yes I bought it and read it. Occasionally I do look at it again. So many people have asked me if I have it or offered to get it for me. Done and done. It's like a rite of passage. It contains some perfectly innocuous advice. So why did I hate it so much?

In an article out today, Slate's Allison Benedikt is spot on about its "mean girl advice."

There are so many sentences that read, essentially: "Feeling fat, fattikins? That's totally normal." Um, no, I don't feel fat. I feel pregnant. But thanks for planting that absurd seed in my head. It's peppered with passive aggressive digs like "Want some ice cream (fattikins)? Just don't use pregnancy as an excuse to pig out!" There's even a page about how wearing black during pregnancy is "slimming." Yes, perhaps if I avoid stripes and patterns, no one will notice this human growing inside me.

The book is incredibly patronizing about food, body image, sex, and relationships. Take the chapter for expectant dads, which focuses almost entirely on when they can get it on and how a pregnant woman's boobs get really big and then the baby needs them and then they're even bigger but not so sexy and that's natural. It's like it's written for a salivating 14 year old boy. Very little mention of, say, fatherhood.

There's so much junk out there to read, and obviously most women can pick the good from the nonsense. But I'm glad someone else said what nonsense this is. I will be sticking to my Mayo Clinic book from now on.

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