by Jessica Critcher
Allow me to set the scene: It’s springtime in Boston. I have just taken my mother-in-law to brunch at Ferrara’s on Salem street, and we’re riding a trolley to take in the sights. She snaps a few pictures of me and posts them to Facebook. Before we can get from The Garden to The Pru, my brother-in-law’s Army buddy is congratulating us on my pregnancy, based on no information besides the fact that I’m looking kind of fat.
I got baby bump-ed.
I’m not what most people would consider famous (unless you count that one time Universal Hub wrote a post specifically about me because of a tweet I wrote). But for a moment I could picture myself on the cover of a trashy celebrity gossip magazine, yellow headlines promising answers to intrusive questions. Maybe they could even go all “Brangelina” on me and make a sonogram “dramatization.”
With more and more of our lives documented on social media, we’re all under more pressure to be “camera ready” all the time. Friends, family, acquaintances and friends of friends also (apparently) resort to the same type of body policing usually reserved for celebrities.
Not that it’s anyone’s business, but I have a copper IUD and pregnancy could be complicated and potentially life-threatening.
Not that it’s anyone’s business, but I am deliberately, happily, militantly child-free.
Not that it’s anyone’s business, but if I got pregnant, I would have an abortion.
Not that it’s anyone’s business, but I am absolutely, 100% not pregnant.
The offender has since apologized (albeit in a passive, annoying, “wasn’t my intention to offend” kind of way) but I can’t seem to let it go. The more I stew over it, the angrier I get, especially when someone tells me to calm down. It’s not that he called me fat (which was bad enough, but I’ve been called fat before). It was the way he said it. It was the way he assumed I would take it as a compliment, the way his whim to comment on my body trumped my feelings, and how the fact that he didn’t mean to offend me is supposed to somehow magically undo the very real offense he caused.
And that’s where it clicks. Street harassment. This is just street harassment in a maternity dress. Read more