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.
Ande from & Squatch Makes Three has written a brilliant response to Winterbourne’s piece, and I highly highly encourage you to take a gander at it. No, really. I’m making you. Go.
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.
I will say that I had absolutely no problem watching a slimy human being emerge from my wife’s unbelievably expanded vagina. I even let my kids try to breast feed off me to give my wife a break. Somehow that didn’t work though.
Hehehe I knew you’d have something to say on this one :) But good for your for trying.
Men and women think differently to keep a balance in the family. God knew what He was doing……and aren’t we glad! Each one has a unique, important gift to give.
“Unique” being the key word there.
Good for you. I get really fed up with the general man bashing that happens a lot – “typical man” and that sort of thing.
Thank you! It does indeed get old.
Well said. Still, my mum remembers very clearly that the male intern who came into the delivery room to watch Miss V being born was at least as interested in her Minolta camera as he was the miraculous event ;)
If you told my mum she’d plotted to ruin my dad’s life, she would laugh cryptically.
LSB, you seem to know a lot about the workings of your parents’ marriage. You are more like Froggert than I originally suspected :) I think we need to arrange a meeting at Niagara Falls for you guys :)
“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.”
Yes! I was thinking of you when I wrote that, BTW :)
Thanks for the plug, and I didn’t catch that MLA bit till just now. Love it! Want to teach my students to use it, because I think my voice might reach registers too low to hear when I talk about it. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself about why they don’t appear to comprehend it.
I am currently drafting a review of a pregnancy book that has terrible “JUST FOR DAD LOL” (not actual name) sections. They are all eye-roll inducing, stereotypical garbage. That shtick was never funny, I don’t know why so many people continue to use it.
And you know what? I am more on the He Says side than my husband. What would poor Whitbourne have to say to THAT??
When I first got pregnant and went to the library to take out the entire pregnancy section, I picked out this one book for dads that was actually published by Playskool. Like, the children’s toy manufacturer. My husband looked through it for five minutes and arrived at the notion that it was geared towards thirteen-year-old boys who accidentally knocked someone up. It was that bad.
I am looking forward to your review! You’ll give it a proper skewering.
“Me and my grown-up husband” is definitely my favorite line. And I agree most decidedly. It bothers me more than I can say when women take on a “we’re so much better than you” attitude with men!
Thanks! And I agree. Very few people could get away with making such sweeping statements about women being largely vapid or trivial without getting in major trouble, but for some reason it seems to be OK to make those same types of generalizations about men.
THANK YOU! People are always quick to point out how women are exploited and generalized, but rarely do they point out how much men have to deal with it, too. Not every man acts like a 12-year-old idiot for the entirety of his life. I mean, seriously, how much would life suck if every member of the opposite sex you met thought of you as some drooling caveman obsessed with boobies and irresponsibility just because of a stupid magazine? Lame!
It would indeed suck because then we’d be living in middle school forever. Or on a Yahoo! message board. Both are decidedly not good.
P.S. This should totally get Freshly Pressed. And, when you do get Freshly Pressed, please remember me when you’re famous :) haha
Haha Johnathan Whitbourne is probably moonlighting as the Freshly Pressed choser of the month or something which would bump me out of contention. Thanks, though! You are too nice!
Awesome. My husband was so excited to become a daddy. He’s even dived into the world of cloth diapering. He also would help me hold the breast pump so I get both boobies! Heck I want to get fixed and he wants more babies!
That is awesome! From reading your blog I can tell that your hubs is definitely the kind of guy whose progeny SHOULD be roving the world. His stache rules :)
If only we had a boy so the stache could live on. The girls are a quarter Mexican there is still hope, haha
Promise me that you will continue to write after BeBe arrives. I Another great post !
You can bank on it. This is my sanity. :) Thanks!
I’m pretty sure a baby is going to more interesting than a 50-inch flatscreen television. Plus, whereas the television will just be obsolete in a few months, the baby will keep growing and getting more interesting! It’s like entertainment that updates itself. And megaprops on the MLA handbook; haven’t seen one of those used in a while!
Yes, a baby is the ultimate updating app!
I owe the MLA much. Have to pay it forward. :)
What would readers turn to without the judgemental stereotypes to believe in? I for one get lost and confused without cosmo telling me how to live my life.
True, true. I too would be lost if it weren’t for magazine lists of 25 things I can do to make myself feel better about my sad, lacking existence.
I NEVER find this kind of “humor” funny. I must, say your husband sounds awesome!!!! I love it and great post. I agree with everything you said.
He’s pretty great indeed. I’m very blessed to have him. I mean, if you can’t make fun of stupid articles with your spouse, what CAN you do? ;) Thanks for your kind words.
I’m thinking OB docs need to rethink their fairly new habit of distributing these magazines. When we had our first in 1998, the only magazine we got in a pregnancy welcome kit was a humdrum issue of Parenting, in which spanking was just starting to lose popularity. In 2000 with #2, it was slightly more directive, with a geared-toward-pregnancy magazine someone drummed up with lots of ads and all the stuff you could find in your basic “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” In 2003 with #3, it was a trendy fashiony-type, look-at-me-wearing-these-outrageously-uncomfortable-outfits-hope-ya-buy deals. Then in 2008 it was an “Over-40 Special,” with heinous advice as to what we should have done to prevent the birth of #2 (who turned out to have Down syndrome and is the love of our lives and gets standing ovations every baseball season down at the ballpark). I was so mortified I wrote the editor, after I quit crying angry tears. Then I told my OB. I think they’re clueless- they don’t actually read the stuff they give out. I totally stand behind all you posted, and wholeheartedly support the exposure of this blather they’ve been publishing lately. It’s all about sensationalism and selling instead of true support. Somebody tell the docs and stop the presses!
I think you just wrote an outline for a pretty fantastic post that I for one would LOVE to read :) Ever since I got pregnant, I have been fascinated with pregnancy literature (in fact one of my first few posts ever on this blog was about the strange advice doled out in pregnancy books), and I think the magazines really win the award for combining misinformation with outlandish trends that have very little bearing on reality. Especially for first-time moms, it’s extremely misleading for OBs and health care offices to hand out these magazines without checking them out first. Half the time the medical information they provide runs counter to what the doctor is saying anyway. The dispersion of this mess is just another symptomatic indication of what’s wrong with the American healthcare system. It’s all a business.
Ugh. That kind of sexist bullshit is infuriating, and insulting to everyone.
My thoughts exactly! Thank you!
[…] from Another Mister. (Go ahead and read her site. I’ll be here when you get back.) And a recent post of hers delivered this gem from a free magazine the doctor gave her: Click the picture to read the […]
“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?”
-hopefully nobody else said something similar yet, but it’s kind of been that way for a while now. It’s kind of like the Flinstones formula. Fat white guy, attractive wife. The fat white guy is always dopey and can’t comprehend. They’re easy targets and white males are the least offended of groups of people. It’s safe to call them idiots.
True. They are easy targets. But perpetuating this image of useless, dumb men doesn’t serve anyone.
I read the list and cringed. Being a daddy is an important role for my husband. He shares in the childcare responsibilities. He is caring and loving and sweet and in some ways a better parent than me. I could not imagine being a mother without him by my side.
He does fall into one stereotype on the list. He continually says that our daughter is not dating until she is 35. He has a hard time seeing her as anything other than his little baby.
I get that one, definitely :) Even though she’s not even born yet, my husband says that once she comes, he’s never going to put her down. Especially to date.
It’s like a grown up version of Seventeen Magazine’s version of a future dad aka a dummy.
I know, right? Although I think I remember Seventeen being a bit more compelling than this. I looked forward every week to reading those embarrassing stories! :)
I love you, Em. I love this post. I love everything about it. Except the fact that I was SOOOOOOO relieved to see that you’d blown the damned article up big enough so that I could read it without eyepain.
Thank you, ma’am! It’s good to see you over here! Thank you for your kind words. And I’m all about blowing things up -> (oblique reference to my uterus).
Ha! Men are stupid, and use waaaay too many paper towels. Having a baby would seriously harsh their idiot mellow don’tcha know…how will they hold a baby, an x box controller and a twelve pack all at the same time? Duh!
My husband and I love this kind of crap. Don’t know if you’ve seen any of these:
but I think you would like it. There’s a whole series that make me laugh to the point of tears. Also listen to her comments on being pregnant-http://thepapermacheteshow.com/2010/08/29/sarah-haskins/
That was awesome! I haven’t seen it before but thanks for the link! I especially like the one about the steaks; any chance to squeeze in a snide comment about Walmart is always appreciated.
Thanks for commenting!
Walmart is fucking awful. I’m sure you’ve seen “peopleofwalmart.com”
It’s funny and depressing and maddening all at the same time.