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Jewish World Review Feb. 13, 2001 / 20 Shevat, 5761

Greg Crosby

Greg Crosby
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Consumer Reports

Pregnant and in your face -- INTERESTING how our culture continues to become increasingly more uncultured with each succeeding decade. I was watching an old "I Love Lucy" show the other night (yes, I admit I sometimes watch "I Love Lucy" reruns -- mostly because I find them enjoyable and eminently more reality based then many of todayís so-called "reality based" television shows). The Lucy show I was watching was one of the episodes where Lucy was pregnant. Definitely cutting-edge television for those days.

For one thing, back then, no one could even say the word "pregnant" on television. Pregnant women were referred to in synonmical terms such as "expecting" or "with child" or "mother-to-be" or just plain "having a baby." Now, on television, not only do they use the word "pregnant," they use common street vernacular to describe exactly how a woman got that way, along with maybe a little "show and tell." Modesty, subtlety, and delicacy in terms of dealing with pregnancy on the tube has disappeared along with Howdy Doody, Mr. Wizard and The Ed Sullivan Show.

Anyway, Lucy really looked extra cute and demure in this episode. One reason that she did, may have been the fact that she was actually pregnant at the time and she radiated that certain glow that women get when they are, well, "with child." Another reason she looked so cute was because she was wearing what every pregnant woman wore back then-- a feminine maternity outfit. This one was a two-piece comprised of a large roomy blouse which totally covered some sort of maternity pants (which, I suppose, were made to give somewhat in the front).

Iím certainly no expert in this, but from what I can remember, maternity clothes were extremely functional in their design -- attempting to de-emphasize, as much as practical, the protracted belly, while giving the expectant mother as much comfort and freedom of movement as possible. Big, full, non-clinging, pleated tops with plenty of room to grow. Beyond that, maternity outfits were usually cute and feminine. Frilly and soft in mostly pastel colors. Subtle. Delicate. Coy and sweet. Nice.

Maybe they still make and sell these kinds of maternity outfits somewhere, but if they do, theyíre not buying them where I live. A lot of the mommies-to-be that I see walking around are wearing T-shirt tops with stretch pants. Form-fitting T-shirts and skin tight pants. Sometimes they have witty sayings on them like, "Somethiní in the Oven" or "Baby On Board" with a large arrow pointing to the belly. This look has been around for awhile. Coy and sweet itís not.

But now along comes something that is even uglier. The latest thing in maternity apparel seems to be tight-fitting spandex outfits which look like they were spray painted on. These tops and pants are the exact antithesis of the Lucy look -- with the whole point being, I assume, to emphasize as much of the big, extended belly (as well as everything else) as possible. Maternity wear with an attitude.

To all you pregnant ladies out there who wear this sort of clothing, let me say to you in all sincerity, "please donít leave the house."

Trust me on this one, nobody cares to see a woman with a humongous stomach dressed in lavender form-fitting rubber, or spandex or whatever it is those ridiculous outfits are made of, waltzing around the mall or walking round the jogging path. Itís REALLY UGLY, girls! And Iím not just picking on "women who are in a family way" (thereís another good synonym for pregnant) -- Iím talking to all women. Hey, you want to wear that stuff in the gym or health club or at home where I donít have to look at you, fine. But stay off the public streets, okay? Wanna know why?

Itís because all those outfits do is highlight your worst attributes, whether itís a big belly, lumpy knees, cellulite thighs, a flabby rear-end, sagging breasts or whatever. It ainít a pretty sight unless you happen to have the body of a playboy centerfold, and most women donít. Besides it being gross to look at, dressing that way takes on a crude, low class sloppiness that is not exactly appealing, either. Other than that, wearing that stuff is just swell.

If I come off sounding a little catty, like Mr. Blackwell or something, I humbly apologize. My intentions are good -- I mean no harm. Itís just that there are already vast amounts of ugliness in this world without pregnant women contributing to it.

Donít get me wrong, I donít have anything against women who happen to be "in a birthing mode" (another synonym). Expecting a baby is a wondrous, joyful thing and I believe a woman can be at her most beautiful during this time. But not when she feels that she needs to show off her enlarged silhouette to the world by wearing skin-tight garments which accentuate not only her stomach, but even the outline of her extended bellybutton. I donít want to see the details, please. Save them for your husband.

JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. You may contact him by clicking here.


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© 2000, Greg Crosby