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The Glamor of Labor

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Given that pregnancy has become oh-so-trendy, we had to know this was coming: a line of clothing for laboring women. Yes, you read that right, clothes for women in labor. To wear during labor and delivery.

While I was at first repulsed, I tried to keep an open mind about the company, Binsi. After all, they do seem to consider various places in which to labor (home, hospital), and to be centered around the idea of a vaginal (as opposed to cesarean) birth. In fact, the website in its FAQs almost turns up its nose at the idea of hospital births (albeit, in the context of supporting their own sales):

What if my nurses don’t want me to wear my Binsi clothes?

If you are giving birth at a hospital, you may be surprised at how much courage it takes to ask for things that are important to you, but they want the same outcome you do: a happy patient that has a good experience. Whether it is the courage to ask to wear your Binsi clothes, or something (anything!) else that you feel you need—all you need to do is ask.

But that’s where my appreciation ends. Because, as a friend of Jezebel’s Anna notes, there’s another side to this:

“The end times are near. We are no longer allowed to have any moment in which we are not sexualized. Even at the ultimate conclusion of sex. I feel like that fact that a woman created this makes it even more horrific. Why do we do this to each other? No man would conceive of this product.

Exactly. While I can understand that good intentions might be behind this (“this is going to be on video forever, so look the best you can!” or something), the end result is to focus attention on women’s appearances and to continue their sexualization. Some might say that this move is not out of place during a moment so intimately connected to a sexual act. But I think the reverse is true (full disclosure: I have never given birth so this is theoretical rather than from experience). I mean, if a woman still has to worry about her appearance when pushing a bowling ball through her vagina, what hope is there for us to escape an appearance-focused sexualizing and objectifying society?

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