Sunday, June 04, 2006

Harry Potter and writing

I just finished writing a 10-page paper on Harry Potter. No, I'm not in school. Yes, it was just for fun. Is that weird? I like writing (even though now I'm at that icky part where you have to list all your sources and go back and notate, so that it doesn't look like you're copying) and I love good ol' Harry. I was only aiming for 1,000 words or so but they just came pouring out, and now it's 4700. I'm hoping to get it published online at my favorite HP site, even if I have to divide it into two sections or something. I just hope nobody beats me to this paticular topic.

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Went to Borders today, saw Ben and some other nice people. He's amazed by our friend Amanda's pregnancy--apparently she's just beginning to show at it's hit him like a ton of bricks that she's actually making a baby. He said something to the effect that if he climbed Mount Everest, found a cure for cancer, or landed on the moon it wouldn't be as miraculous as what she's doing right now...

He's hit upon the reason that men do all of these things, for better or for worse; why they throw themselves equally into creation and destruction; buildings, monuments, pyramids, great feats, wars, crusades. . . at 40 he's just realized that he can't make a baby. Every guy realizes at some point that we can do this miraculous, life-creating, baby-building thing, and they just can't. It really makes it kind of obvious why all ancient cultures worshipped the feminine, and why our current patriarchial society does its best to diminish and degrade this act of creation, medicalizing it to the point of making pregnancy a disease that needs constant (male) medical intervention. Interestingly, most of this degradation has come about in the last century and aligns with the rise in status that women have made on other fronts--education, careers, personal relationships. 'They' have to rob pregnancy, birth, and infant-care (especially nursing) of it's incredible power, that power of creation, because it's a power that men don't have, and now women have an almost equal footing in every other field... imagine if we also embraced the power of our bodies to create new life instead of viewing it as something of an inconvenience?
Everybody rants on about how society worships the thin female body, but that isn't exactly it--society's "ideal image" of the female body is that of a very young woman, a teenager. Most women don't realize that by striving to keep off those 5 pounds what they are really doing is trying to stay in a pre-mature state, as dictated by the patriarchy. Really, the teenage female body-- thin, narrow, athletic and colt-like--is very non-threatening and immature. What if instead of striving to keep our bodies in an adolescent state, we took pride in a full, womanly appearance, complete with physical maturity? There's a constant message aimed at women--be young, be thin-- and underlying that message is the one that robs pregnancy of so much: "Your body (which is of course flawed being female) couldn't possibly handle pregnancy and childbirth on its own! You can't take the pain, you'll do it wrong, you need us, the male medical world, to tell you what to do."
What if instead of doubting our bodies and swallowing everything the man in the white coat tells us-- you need an epidural, you need an epistiotomy, you need a C-section-- we trusted our bodies to do what they do best? What if, instead of trying to placate a male-driven society that wants our bodies to themselves, we nursed freely, using various body parts as they were intended by nature rather than by man? We would rule the world, I tell you!

Hmmmm. I seem to have rambled on a bit. Oh well.

4 comments:

Benjamin said...

I resent the implication that I have only now, at the very young age of forty, realized that men can't have babies. I've been aware of that my whole life, thank you very much. It's just a miracle that seems wonderful and new when embodied by a close friend.

Now I'm off to read your manifesto.

Mara said...

There's knowing and then there's knowing. Now you know.

And it's not a manifesto! It's about Quidditch, for pete's sake!

Amanda said...

and then there is knowing through experiencing! I just spent the last 20 min reflecting in the mirror at my quickly growing belly. I mean, I'm only starting the 3rd month and I look more like the 5th! it's a strange journey to be on but it's one that I have nothing else to compare to, so it's that much more amazing...oh to be woman.

Benjamin said...

Mara ---
are you EVER going to update?!!!!

I'm going crazy w/o my daily dose of Mara-verse!