Maternity is Not Inevitable
And other reminders for the Love is Blind cast and crew
Anyone else still muttering under their breath about the Love is Blind finale? If not, here come some spoilers.
Netflix’s ridiculous tech disaster has become the stuff of online mockery the last few days, but I could hardly contain my rage at the utterly clueless questions Nick and Vanessa (but especially Vanessa, c’mon girl) posed to the cast members at the end of this show about when they will have babies— AFTER a winded and hollow conversation about whether or not one of the contestants was maternal enough.
For those who didn’t watch but are still reading out of curiosity: Paul is an emotionally-stunted, reticent man-boy who has trouble making decisions. This season on Love is Blind, the weird dating show where people choose their life mate sight unseen, Paul wound up with a blonde fiance who looks and acts EXACTLY like his mom. Even though Paul is a geeky scientist with unkempt hair, I guess he’s smart or funny or nice at times because Micah— the woman Paul chose who looks and acts EXACTLY like his mom— liked Paul and wanted to marry him. But he shunned her at the altar.
Though it was obvious to anyone watching that Paul has no convictions, is wishy-washy, and has never had to make a meaningful decision in his life—and therefore backed out of the relationship at least in part because of his utter terror about making a decision that could have big ramifications—he blamed Micah.
He complained to producers that she wasn’t nurturing enough. He couldn’t picture her as the mother of his children, he said.
At the reunion show, producers and the hosts of the show, the Lacheys (who want to be marriage counselors?), let this conversation about Micah’s maternal aptitude go on and on. They probed Paul about what exactly it was that made Micah so unmotherly, but he couldn’t really say. It’s just a feeling. Though everyone conceded that Paul should have discussed this with Micah and given her a chance to try to be more “nurturing,” Paul mumbled something about how it doesn’t work that way. He shouldn’t have to ask her to be more motherly, he said, implying that Micah had no maternal instinct and, well, couldn’t be saved. Then another guy piled on and said Micah, who sat quietly in confusion, was playing the victim.
None of this is much of a surprise given that last season’s finale of Love is Blind majorly fumbled the ball after a conversation between two characters opened the door for a meaningful conversation about abortion. But it’s hard to believe that these sorts of conversations are still happening in these huge public forums— that maternal readiness is still being used as a litmus test for a good wife, or a good woman, or a good person— and that any man can get away with this crap.
**Adding to the assumption that every woman must/should/will become a mother or isn’t worth loving: The Lacheys then proceeded to ask every couple when they were going to have little reality TV BABIES!**
I offer my services.
In light of the intense pressure women face to appear maternal in order to land a man, the era of forced pregnancy and sexual assault in which we are all living, and the failing care infrastructure in this country, here are some other questions to ask newly married couples:
Why did you do that?
Parenting seems pretty fucked right now— you going there or what?
Have you two talked about how much of your shared income you will allocate to abortion funds?
What state are you going to live in, and how much will reproductive freedom factor into that decision?
Do you know how to self-manage abortion if needed and do you know how to get safe access to abortion pills?
What do you two think about the high cost of childcare, the absence of federal paid leave, and the numerous statistics that show women still do a disproportionate amount of labor in the home, despite how much they earn outside the home? Have you talked about how you will share the domestic load, whether you are having kids or not, and about how you will avoid slipping into retrograde gender roles in your marriage?
What about conversations about hetero sexuality and the power dynamics inherent to sex, especially in marriage? Talked about those yet?
Just for the husbands: What role you will play in correcting the imbalances of patriarchy, and specifically the marital institution you just entered, to ensure that your wife maintains a sense of identity, autonomy, and freedom in a society that doesn’t want her to have these things?
And just for the ladies: Did you know that marriage benefits men more than women and are you already fantasizing about being a liberated divorcee?
Just some ideas!
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