What’s so funny about a man getting pregnant?


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I recently read The Fourth Procedure by Stanley Pottinger, in which, during a surgical procedure, a man is given a uterus containing a fertilized egg. He is enraged when he finds out, afraid that if it becomes public knowledge he’ll be a laughingstock.

Turns out he’s right. But I don’t get it. What’s so funny about a man getting pregnant?


Is it like laughing at the guy who slips on a banana peel – laughing at another’s adversities? For when pregnancy is unwanted and occurs in a world without abortion, it is certainly an adversity. Forget going to college, forget that career. You’re screwed. (The double meaning of that phrase is no coincidence.) Even if you give the child to someone else, a good year of your life has been derailed.


It takes – I was going to say immaturity, but that’s an insult to the many children who do not laugh when another kid falls down and hurts him/herself. And then I was going to say it takes a lack of empathy – but those who laugh at others’ adversities seem fully aware that they are adversities. So what is it then? Well it’s sick. (There’s a philosophically precise term.)


Or perhaps it’s not the adversity that is funny, but the unexpectedness.  But there are many unexpected things we don’t laugh at, so that can’t be right.


Then I read that one of the characters who laughed at the situation called the guy a ‘wuss’ – which, of course, means the man is effeminate, feminine, womanly, womanish, whatever. So how does that fit in? To be pregnant is to be female, and to be female is – laughable?


And why is that exactly?


About the writer:


Peg Tittle is the author of Shit that Pisses Me Off, Critical Thinking: An Appeal to Reason, and What If...Collected Thought Experiments in Philosophy.

 
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