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The pregnant man emoji: A violence done to humanity

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Tugdual Derville - published on 02/11/22

Believing in a pregnant man is as absurd as it is to claim that the earth is flat.

“Ah, if I were a woman …” It’s astonishing that an almost monopolistic global multinational (Apple) would dare to impose on us, as a counterpart to the emoji of a pregnant woman, that of a man holding a baby in his belly. Believing in a pregnant man is as absurd as it is to claim that the earth is flat. The realm of maternity is the feminine space par excellence.

Pregnancy, which is an intimate experience—some would say a sacred one, because it touches life itself—belongs only to women. No male has ever known by experience what it is to carry another human being in his womb. Let us insist: whether or not it is an “exorbitant privilege” (Françoise Héritier), the fact of giving birth belongs only to them. What we all know—men and women—is that we were in our mother’s womb for a long time. This vital fact—a source of wonder—should warn us against any manipulation of this reality.

Having accompanied many pregnant women in difficulty, I know—second hand—to what extent the experience of pregnancy is intense, almost indescribable, sometimes joyful, sometimes painful, and often both, simultaneously or alternately. It’s a reality so feminine in essence that one should be careful not to cross-dress it. We are scandalized by the “racism” of people who wear makeup to give their skin another color as part of a costume! Should we not a fortiori forbid ourselves to propagate the image of women who claim to experience pregnancy “as men”?

Some women, because of a malaise that remains mysterious, try to adopt a male appearance by taking hormones and possibly by having surgery, while keeping their uterus functional. When they find themselves in the situation of claiming to “give birth as a father,” the deception is revealed! Because only mothers give birth. Their masculine appearance will not change the reality of their femininity, to which, precisely, childbirth attests.

Showing a “paternal maternity” means giving credit to a senseless subterfuge. When a man’s belly starts to resemble that of a pregnant woman, it is generally because he has been drinking a little too much beer! Beneficial feminism is not about blurring the bodily markers that distinguish men from women, but about ensuring that these differences are not a source of unfair discrimination. On the other hand, “It is not a healthy attitude which would seek ‘to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it.’” (Laudato si’, 155). The fact that we need technology to give it credence only confirms that it’s an artifice, a denial of human ecology. Women are the losers, because their specificity—their nature—is denied, even disdained.

Occulting the sense of the body

Beware, however! Although men are urged to keep quiet by woke culture, they are just as much victims of deception: the emoji “pregnant man” does not show us a man who is imitating a (pregnant) woman, but a (pregnant) woman who is imitating a man, pretending to give birth under a deceptive male appearance. Her biological reality is nevertheless carefully concealed, with forced modesty.

In humanity, “masculine” describes a body which is not made to give birth. The “pregnant man” emoji, a false advertisement imposed by anthropological deconstruction, is—like all lies—ultimately an injustice and a violence done to humanity as a whole, because it undermines one of its most intangible supporting walls: sexual otherness, at the origin of all begetting.

Such an image is born of a conscious plan: to neutralize humanity. To neutralize it in the sense that this verb takes in an armed conflict: to make it impotent and inoperative, to undo it. Let’s not ignore the ideological origins of the irruption on our screens of this transhumanist image. For its promoters, nothing has meaning, nothing is given, everything is constructed, and everything is therefore to be deconstructed; in their eyes there is, to build humanity, there is no indisputable reference.

The followers of this provocative agitprop have one intention: “Let’s shock, let’s shake people up! It doesn’t matter, things will always settle back down …” Beware! They rely on the debates surrounding their viral image—and therefore on its opponents as well—to spread it better, to make it enter people’s heads, to make it conceivable, possible, and then acceptable and finally unquestionable. The present article risks therefore—unless it generates in its readers a resolution of lucid resistance—to contribute to their objective: to accustom us to occulting the sense of the body, by trivializing in one “gender” what is proper and specific to the other.

The humble and reciprocal incompleteness of men as compared to women is a precious treasure on which we should meditate more—and, from now on, defend!

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