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The boring Pregnancy Plot strikes again.

Bones is back [well, I finally got to watch the first ep of Season 7], and there's yet another Pregnancy Plot on the table. After suffering an entire season of Angela and Hodgins' heteronormative nesting behaviors in Season 6, we have to go through the same thing again with the 2 main characters, Bones and Booth. I say "the same thing again" because there's apparently only one way for mainstream pop culture, especially TV and movies in the US, to treat pregnancy.
  • No matter what the situation of the woman getting pregnant and the way that she gets pregnant, she always wants to go through with the pregnancy and have a child and raise it herself. Where are the miscarriages? Where are the adoptions? [Once Upon a Time, featuring Henry, Emma's son that was given for adoption shortly after birth, remains an exception to the rule.] Where are the abortions? Mainstream pop entertainment does not reflect the realities of so many pregnancies.
  • The attitudes of the prospective parents suddenly become suffused with gooey lovey-doveyness, confidence, starry-eyed idealism and happiness. I mean, God forbid that anyone feel hostile or ambivalent about the fetus! That's just not possible! That would destroy the unrealistic emphasis that TV has on pregnancy and childbirth being some sort of panacea for life's problems.
  • Pregnancy brings out the inner femininity of the pregnant woman and fulfills her. No matter how many successes and enjoyments the character has had in her life before becoming pregnant, the glorifying way in which pregnancy is haloed on TV makes all the other accomplishments and sources of joy insignificant in comparison. For some women, pregnancy may be the best thing they've ever done with their lives, but, if TV insists that every pregnant female character feel this way, then these shows are just reproducing boring, essentialist, reductionist stereotypes about what women can do and be.

Pregnancy Plots just instantly flatten out character depth and plot dynamism. Furthermore, their relentless heteronormativity makes me want to throw up. 

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
sailorzeo
Nov. 12th, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
There's always Glee. Season 1, Quinn gave up her baby for adoption, Rachel found out about (and was ultimately rejected by) her birth mother and Terri found out she had a hysterical pregnancy. Oh, and if you REALLY feel like ranting about Pregnancy Plots, The Secret Life of the American Teenager wins hands-down for the most ludicrous pregnancy storylines (really, the whole show is a trainwreck). I have to agree on the depiction of pregnancies in television. If abortion is even mentioned, it's solely to be quickly discarded as a viable option. Adoption is usually discussed longer, but is almost always shot down by someone saying, "Oh, I had a baby I gave up for adoption, and I've regretted it ever since."

To point another finger at Secret Life: season 1, Amy was all for giving up her baby for adoption, even a closed adoption, until her father and younger sister pretty much guilt-tripped her into keeping it. The baby's father was also guilt-tripping her, threatening and refusing to sign any adoption papers (so she could have just given the kid over to him, washed her hands of it, but no, she couldn't do that). There've been at least 2 other pregnancy plots in that series: one ended with the parents reuniting, then deciding to stay divorced, and the other I believe ended in a miscarriage.

I still have hope for In Plain Sight. Her whole pregnancy, Mary kept thinking of the baby like a witness: protect, keep safe, relocate. Her mother and sister were pushing for her to keep it (or to let the sister and sister's fiance adopt it), but the last episode of the season still had her planning to give the baby up. She went into labor at the end of the season finale, so as long as there's not a last-minute, post-labor change of heart, hope's still alive. :-P
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