As Morning Gloria of Jezebel notes, typical objections to this parking bill consist of anti-woman thoughts like "sluts should've kept their legs closed!" or those "who say that since men can't get pregnant, this is reverse-sexism or bizarro-sexism or some other made up -ism."
However, my objection to this type of parking is totally different. My general complaint is that this mindset fits in with our societal trend to treat pregnant women like helpless, pathetic beings. I am someone who advocates for women to be seen as full, capable people, regardless of their current reproductive state. And I don't think that we should be infantilizing those who are pregnant.
In fact, I think there's something quite strong and remarkable about being able to bring another human being into this world.
Now, I'm not saying that pregnancy isn't difficult and we shouldn't take steps to ensure that pregnant women have a comfortable gestational experience. I understand when one is pregnant you face physical barriers that would not otherwise be present. I think, as a society, we should make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women. For example, I feel, very strongly, that maternity leave is far too short in this country. But to put undue attention on to parking spaces seems, to me, to be a cop out accommodation which coddles pregnant women instead of a more substantial law which could actually make a meaningful difference.
Like I said above, the parking spaces are just one part of what I see as a societal trend to treat pregnant women like helpless, pathetic beings. Being the age I am, I have been surrounded by many pregnant women lately, and so often the response to others around them is to quite literally use the voice they would use for babies and have the women immediately sit down. And in each case, the pregnant woman has insisted on continuing doing what she's doing, saying something to the effect of, "No, it's ok, I'm fine! I'm pregnant, not sick."
And in each case I cringe because it's just so annoying to me. As someone who has pregnancy planned as a part of her future, I dread having my adult card revoked just because I'm gestating another human being. In related reading, Jessica Valenti and Natalia Antonova share their feminist experiences of pregnancy, which include other ways we violate women's personal autonomy during pregnancy including:
- Your stomach is now public domain for everyone to touch...duh, didn't you know?
- You can no longer make your own decisions about where you go (like bars!) because think of the baby!
- Make sure your clothing is modest and appropriate! You're someone's mom now!
I guess my point is simple: Afford pregnant women common courtesies, like giving up your seat on the subway, but don't treat them like children. Just because they are bringing an infant into the world doesn't mean they are one!