So, this starts in a non-fluffy place. Lord Saletan wrote this asinine-even-for-him essay claiming that pregnant women who refer to the sweet little parasites in their wombs as “fetuses” instead of “babies” run the risk of dehumanizing them so much that they’ll end up giving birth and sticking the kid in a freezer. NO SERIOUSLY HE DID. (Note: Yes, that was a tasteless way of referring to a true, tragic story. Fair warning, the post only gets worse in that regard later on. It’s a laugh-so-you-don’t-cry thing, but surely not something everyone will want to read.)
Fortunately, my fellow broad Tracy Clark-Flory took it down so we didn’t have to:
It seems to me that Saletan is irresponsibly conflating pregnancy denial with philosophical beliefs about abortion and fetuses’ personhood. A woman who is considering an abortion can maintain a minor level of disconnection from the fetus, refuse to call it a baby and yet still be able to acknowledge that there is life there. She can do all of this even after having an ultrasound, as Saletan instructs women to do. It’s more complicated than willing herself to see only what she wants to see: People have very different scientific, philosophical, political and religious ideas about when a fetus becomes a baby or a person. Couples often have very different independent experiences of a pregnancy’s “realness,” and early on in a pregnancy, so much of the significance of the word baby is parental projection. But Saletan assumes that his definition of personhood is The Truth with which women must reckon.
Really, that last line is all that ever needs to be said about William Saletan.
Anyway, this led to a g-chat between Fillyjonk and me, and since y’all seemed to enjoy that before, I thought I’d share.
FJ: man, who knew salon and jezebel would become the go-to sites for feminist writing?
me: ha, yeah, i’m really happy with how broadsheet’s going these days
FJ: broadsheet is great
no real love for salon overall
me: I do love Salon… but like a family member with a million annoying quirks you put up with ’cause they’re family
And that’s pretty much how I felt before I wrote for them
FJ: incidentally my parents called me “d’embryo” until i was born
so suck it, saletan
me: AND THEY DIDN’T KILL YOU? Amazing.
And yeah, my niece was “Zyggy” for “zygote,” which I’ve heard several other people use
even though it wasn’t technically accurate for long
She or one of the others also became “Bun” as in “in the oven” — ALSO DEHUMANIZING! COMPARING YOUR CHILD TO FOOD! DO YOU WANT TO MAKE HER FAT?
fetuses are very suggestible
SORRY I MEAN BABIES
me: I mean, seriously, you could call the fetus “our little clump o’ cells,” and if you wanted the fucking kid, it would be a term of endearment.
FJ: yeah it turns out that the thing that determines whether you want the kid is whether you want a kid
me: get out!
I think maybe if I get pregnant, we’ll call it “Little Lord Saletan.”
“Wanker” for short.
says mom: “I guess the reason I didn’t kill you is that we called you Dembryo, which is way cuter.”
FJ: also, i gchatted her and said “according to william saletan it’s a miracle you didn’t put me in a freezer after i was born”
mom: yes, that was my first impulse.
me: HA! Love your mom.
FJ: she’s hilarious
With that, here’s the Friday Fluff question: If you’re a parent, what did you call your kid(s) in utero? If you’re not — or even if you are — what would you call a future fetus? Over to you, Shapelings.