The "pregnant man", Thomas Beatie--who is actually a woman who had her breasts, but not her uterus, removed and now lives as a man, got that?--is in the news, and seemingly basking in the glow of his/her/whatever 15-minutes of media fame.
Beatie was on Oprah this week for the expected "ohhs" and "ahhhs" of the studio audience. For more on that, see "Pregnant 'Man' Due in July after Wife Unable to Conceive" and "Pregnant Man on Oprah: Complete 2nd Phase of Media Trifecta".
It was about that time that a letter was received by a real man, one Darren Garnick, who apparently wasn't interested in the transgender experience, but wanted to empathize with his pregnant wife by strapping on an "empathy belly".
He then wrote about the experience for the Boston Herald. Here's a bit to get the reader started.
Two weeks before my daughter was born, I strapped on a pregnancy suit called “The Empathy Belly,” and chronicled my experiences for the Boston Herald.
I participated in a birthing class, went to restaurants in the suit (surprisingly difficult to pull a chair close to the table), and even slept in it. Although there is no way to prove what people do in the privacy of their own homes, the inventor of The Empathy Belly told me she believed I wore it for the longest consecutive period of time. I was the record holder.
Not so fast, my wife Stacy reminded me.
She was experiencing pregnancy far longer than a measley 24 hours. And her suit would only come off in the delivery room.
You can read the rest of Darren's interesting media experiment at "Labor of Love: 24 Hours of Male Pregnancy"
This is where we empathize.
You see, no matter how many "empathy bellies" a man straps on, he's always going to catch abuse--by both men and women.
The men, typically, are dismissive with good reason. Who knows when next someone will propose this idea and want you to participate in it?
So that reaction is to be expected.
But the women are the ones who really sneer. Typical female reactions are usually: "Oh sure, you had it on for 24 hours. Try it on for nine months, Buster, then we'll talk."
Or something on that order.
So poor Darren, aspiring to be emphatic, ends up being dissed by the ladies for the audacity of entertaining the very idea. The only one who makes out in this whole deal is the manufacturer of these pregnancy suits.
Which, one can only hope, goes the way of the Pet Rock and platform shoes.
And soon, Thomas Beatie's fleeting media fame.
image: Darren Garnick's Media Lab; DBKP file
* Labor of Love: 24 Hours of Male Pregnancy
* Pregnant Man, Pregnancy Suits and Over-rated Empathy
* Pregnant 'Man' Due in July after Wife Unable to Conceive
* Pregnant Man on Oprah: Complete 2nd Phase of Media Trifecta
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