Jennifer Senior wants you to know that she's always been a tomboy. In an article called "My Macho Pregnancy" in this month's Marie Claire, the New York magazine scribe writes: "Carrying a child did nothing to free me from the conviction that I am more masculine than feminine." In the next paragraph, she describes what she sees as "masculine traits" in herself: "Before I got pregnant, I was analytical and unsentimental and indifferent to shopping; during my first two trimesters, I was analytical and unsentimental and indifferent to shopping." The fact that she marks these traits as "macho" is insulting enough, but what's worse are the traits she implies are "feminine." In her last trimester, in which "machismo is completely out of the question," Senior says she became "hopelessly dependent, relying on the kindness of strangers to give up their subway seats, open doors, and in one especially awkward instance, tie my shoes."
Even more upsetting is that Senior (pictured here) equates stereotypical femininity with "intellectual helplessness." Then she goes into a scientific explanation of why she's feeling less than sharp in her final trimester, which sounds valid — but the hormonal changes in your system that she describes don't make you "feminine" — they just make your brain shrink (or are they the same thing?).
To be fair, Senior semi-redeems herself in the end, when she talks about feeling like she has a knock-knock joke inside her belly, and cops to liking her "inner girl." How she comes to like this inner girl I have no idea, because Senior makes the "girl" sound helpless and weepy, but whatever, at least she's more positive about it! Jennifer has written countless pro-female articles for New York in the past, including this nuanced look at women who get gastric bypass surgery, which is why this Marie Claire business is particularly distressing.
Maybe it was the swelling of her body that was so upsetting: Senior describes the last weeks of her pregnancy as inducing "[a state of] utter disgust, wishing the baby were out, and that reaction will be mirrored in the faces of loved ones and strangers alike, who will look on in a kind of terrified awe, watching as I burst to the breaking point, carrying a 10-pound turkey in a 2-quart pan." Is the tyranny of the Tristas so intense that even smart ladies like Senior fall prey to it?
My Macho Pregnancy [Marie Claire]