On my most recent trip to the OB, I was given a packet of freebies that included an infant diaper, a bunch of baby coupons, and a pregnancy magazine entitled Countdown. Have you ever heard of Countdown? I’m assuming no because it’s forty-two pages long and much of the content is ads and information that is readily available for free on WebMD (where it’s also much more comprehensive). I’m not entirely sure what legitimate niche it’s trying to fill, although I would guess these people are its target audience:
There is a bit of original content on the back page, though. I am not a big magazine reader at all, but I do tend to like the last page of any magazine, though, because it usually includes random tidbits that fall into the following categories:
* Celebrities wearing swan-dress-like outfits
* A fashion trend such as flower pants and a bunch of pictures of people wearing them, unaware of how ridiculous they look
* Semi-humorous editorial content
SO, here’s what I found on the back page of Countdown.
Oh my. Oh my, my, my. I am now going to include a better scan of the text so that we can be sure we’re all reading the same thing before I really begin:
Let’s just jump in, shall we?
First I am going to attack this on the publication front.
I don’t care how small your circulation is and how broad an audience you’re trying to appeal to, but can we all agree that rehashing a list of pregnancy stereotypes does not make for quality material?
Wow, Mr. Johnathan Whitbourne, it had never before occurred to me that most men would rather buy a flatscreen TV or an ATV than a high-end breastpump! I know that’s what’s on my man’s mind all the time! And the one about not letting your daughter date until she’s 35? How droll! What will you come up with next?
It makes me sad that Whitbourne is going to be able to add this gem to his CV when there are a number of legitimately funny, original pregnancy posts written by male bloggers I follow that could just as easily be formatted to fit on that last page. Any one of these posts would have amused me and made me feel like my brain hadn’t just been compromised by watching a ten-hour marathon of According to Jim.
Before you say it, I KNOW no one forced me to read it. I KNOW I didn’t even have to purchase the magazine it was printed in. I KNOW I’m coming off as a pseudo-intellectual yuppie by saying that the people who think this slaw is funny are on their way to cultural illiteracy. But seriously, the publication of this list of silly male stereotypes that are intended to amuse men and women alike doesn’t say much for the publisher or what it thinks of its readers.
SINCE WHEN did it become OK to frame all men as children who are incapable of having mature thoughts when it comes to pregnancy and babies? Just as there are indeed women who become pregnant and don’t crave pickles and ice cream* and who don’t scream bloody murder during labor, there are men – a lot of them – who don’t cope with the pressures of having a baby by resorting to contrived stereotypes of gagging in the delivery room and maintaining this “my life is over” mentality. My husband is one of them. He read this and felt insulted because he knows that Bebe isn’t making him compromise his manhood or whatever. Even if he did drive around in a big ol’ honkin’ man machine, he wouldn’t feel any less entitled to it if Bebe rode around with him in the backseat.
*I mean, seriously, have you EVER actually known someone who craved pickles and ice cream? And even if you did, what does it prove? That she’s more authentically pregnant?
Yeah, babies are scary. We all cope with them in our own ways. A lot of the time we rely on silly adages because that’s the language that we’ve always heard used to describe pregnancy and the coming of a baby. But at some point, it became standard to assume that no man actually wants to have a baby and be a father to it. He was “tamed” and had his proverbial cojones removed the instant he found out he had to make room in his macho man life for a baby. On the day when he had planned to watch football and drink a thousand beers and scratch himself to his heart’s content, some broad came to him and foiled his plans by ordering him to put a crib together. Muahahaha! That’s right! All we women just relish the day when we become pregnant and get to ruin some poor guy’s life. Because, you know, ALL women want babies and NO men do.
I know there are some lobotomized boy-men out there who only think in these terms when they find out that they’re responsible for a pregnancy.
As if having a baby means that they can’t play with their trucks anymore.
As if having a baby means that they will have to start eating their veggies now.
As if they will never, ever get to do anything fun ever again.
They actually believe these things, run off, and never actually participate in the upbringing of the baby. But I don’t believe all men are like this. That’s why I rarely say “I am having a baby;” I say, “B and I are having a baby” because we are.
Me and my grown-up husband.
Because I can’t resist the chance to whip out the old MLA handbook:
Whitbourne, Johnathan. “What’s He Really Thinking?” Countdown. Issue I 2011: 42. Print.