There is a bottomless multitude of things that annoy us all about the
Daily Fail, from their recent adoption of American spelling to perving
on underage girls. But this one has been nagging me for a while -
perhaps partly because I’ve also seen it spread like slow-growing warts
from the pages of the Fail into other publications. It’s their strict
policy of describing pregnant women as if they’re flowers (pregnant men
usually evoke a lengthy rant of an article that could be nutshelled with
an indignant 'Uuurgh!', but that's another story.) So today I’d like to
make and appeal: Could we please, PLEASE stop talking about pregnancy
in gardening terminology?
The majority of us know
about the birds and the bees. If not, ask your mum, preferably while
she’s really concentrating on something else. We also know that in
humans, reproduction does not work like it does in plants – perhaps
counterintuitively, it's a hell of a lot seedier.
why are magazines and newspapers how hell-bent on describing pregnant
women as “blooming”, “blossoming” and, of course, “glowing”? The image I
get immediately is of pregnancy as a state of being at one with the
Chelsea Flower Show. Or perhaps those yellow-stemmed, determined little
weeds in the garden that pop up everywhere and your Grandma insists must
be systematically eradicated. I imagine that this is not a solution the
Fail proposes for the problem of pregnancy “curves”, at least not while
the little bundle of joy is still technically inside you. Such drastic
measures are reserved for the horror scenario of not having lost the
pregnancy weight within 24 hours of giving birth.
what’s this gardening stuff about? Is it a sweet and traditionalist
euphemism to describe pregnancy as something beautiful and delicate,
like a flower? Like your favourite misled grandparent, are they just
getting a little doddery in their old age alongside their outrageous and
awkwardly offensive political views? Somehow, given the Fail’s usual
treatment of women, I doubt it very much.
gets on my wick more than anything is that this "in full bloom"
terminology suggests that pregnancy is the state at which a woman has
reached her full potential: she has finally reached her purpose in life.
While this might have some arguable truth in strict biological terms,
we live in a world that doesn’t boil down to simply what your genitals
produce. No, for some reason there is all this stuff about education,
getting a job, being nice to people and reading even (God forbid)
reading Grazia to fill your time on earth. If pregnancy means that this
is the time the woman-dandelion is blooming, it means that before
pregnancy she was useless and waiting for some kind soul to come and
help her become a real flower - potentially waiting around underground
until someone watered her - and post-pregnancy, she’s going to wilt.
Squeeze out your replacement and then die. Lovely. This, incidentally,
is where the weed-killer comes in.
Also, where does this
floral image leave women who, through no fault of their own, can’t have
children, or those who - whisper it - decided they don’t want any? It
definitely leaves them crowding the soil with their selfish roots,
taking away their pollinating counterparts. Their Georgia O'Keeffe
vaginas will never part their petals and reveal a bouncing little bundle
of joy for the whole human/flower race to celebrate. Hang your head in
shame as your leaves dry out, unthinking geranium.
So let’s get this straight once and for all: a woman
who becomes pregnant remains a human and does not suddenly turn into a
plant. Plant terminology has no place in your uterus, no matter how much
it feels like flattery to be told that you are a "blossoming young
woman in the prime of her life." Vom. Can we go back to speculating over
whether Miley Cyrus is old enough to legally admit to fancying yet?
Cheers for the pic