In this important TED Talk, Professor Jawad-Wessel discusses the dichotomy presented in the classic, socially-prescribed roles of Woman: as either the “virgin” or “slut.” She explores society’s habit of labeling the vocally-sexual woman as a slut (and therefore to be consumed and discarded), as well as idealizing the modest, virginal woman.
This discourse is further magnified for the pregnant woman, who seemingly loses her rights and decision-making power as others ask invasive questions and touch her belly -- a reality every pregnant woman has experienced. She also apparently loses her desires for sex: revered and virginal (innocent, fragile), she is deemed unsexual. It is not uncommon that a man will, upon learning that his wife is pregnant, immediately assume a nine month dry spell; in turn, his wife may feel dissatisfied or undesirable. This can cause huge feelings of frustration for everyone involved.
Jawad-Wessel exposes the truth: that while her body may appear different on the outside, the pregnant woman’s needs (for privacy, sex, etc.) may be exactly the same as before pregnancy.
“A [pregnant] woman who prioritizes her sexual needs prioritizes herself. And others find that threatening.” -- I couldn’t agree more with this statement. It’s scary for society to think that a pregnant woman could possibly have desires.
But scary as it may seem, it’s time to dispel the myth of the unsexual, weak and pregnant woman. Let’s invite partners to consider (gasp!) talking to their pregnant women, instead of assuming that sex and other needs are off limits.
Let's listen to the body that makes the baby.