I spied the front page of the Metro today, that free rag that appears to be spontaneously generated from bus seats.
The news–front page news, the most important of all of the news that is happening in the world–was that famous woman had a miscarriage. It featured a picture of the woman and her boyfriend leaving the doctor’s office, grim-faced and grief-stricken with the gleefully-captalised caption “HEARTACHE”. The text featured two quotes from “sources”, both saying that the people wished to have their privacy respected.
The hypocrisy was stark. Quotes of a plea for privacy juxtaposed with an invasion of privacy.
Front page news? Why are the contents of a famous uterus so important that they are front page news?
It is hardly surprising. The media is obsessed with pregnancy. Famous women are monitored from the second they announce that their uterus is occupied. Breathy features praise these women for maintaining a rake-thin figure with a bump in the middle, like a sated anaconda with a “healthy glow”. Some women are criticised for the fact that pregnancy takes a strain on their body, causing weight gain and fatigue and bad skin. Body language experts are called in, invited to guess the sex of the foetus from the position of the woman’s stomach. The woman’s diet is recounted in great detail. Speculation about how the foetus will emerge is rife: is the famous woman “too posh to push”? Will her cunt ever be the same after a small person has crawled out of it?
Even when a famous woman is not pregnant, the media cannot help themselves but gossip. She has a new boyfriend, and she is wearing a loose top. She must be pregnant. Her stomach bulges slightly. This is unnatural; she must be pregnant. She hasn’t been out and about for a while. She must be pregnant.
For those women unlucky enough to experience a miscarriage, this news is brazenly splashed across the media. It is in the public interest. We must be updated on every second of a woman’s pregnancy, at the expense of her personal privacy.
Her uterus is public property.
Is it really so surprising that the contents of a woman’s uterus are considered so fascinating?
After all, since the dawn of civilisation, women have tried to abort pregnancies, and the patriarchy has tried to stop them. Throughout the ages, society has tried to control the contents of a woman’s uterus. Forced pregnancies and forced abortions are written into our culture.
To many, the contents of a woman’s uterus are her own business; she may do with them what she wishes. We are pro-choice because we do not believe we have the right to make that choice for another person.
To others, though, the contents of a woman’s uterus are their business. They try to exert control through the law, through religion, through hijacking sex education and through harassment. They have jammed our culture; our media is riddled with detailed accounts of pregnancy, infertility and miscarriage.
They have made the contents of a uterus public interest.
In a bow to this, I shall declare the contents of my uterus: tumbleweeds, cobwebs, and the skeletons of old lovers who went too far.
You need to know this. The contents of a uterus are important to you.
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