This morning on the way to the store, I was listening to my local rock music station. Now, while I like rock music, I genuinely hate the culture surrounding it, so normally as soon as the station switches to something other than music, I change the station. But today, when I turned the car on, the DJs were talking and sounded much more empathetic than usual. They were talking about how much it must suck to be a woman, particularly in regards to her reproductive cycle. Then they got back to their on-air guest, an 8-months-pregnant woman complaining about strangers touching her belly.
She told a story about it happening just this morning at a nearby Starbucks, and the men sympathized and genuinely tried to empathize for a couple minutes. Then one asked, “So that must be annoying, but what’s really going on? I mean, is it the hormones? Did your aunt forget to throw you a baby shower? Were people who were excited about the pregnancy before now just acting like it’s no big deal?”
And that’s when I changed the station again. Because, really guys? What’s really going on? Strangers. Are. Touching. Me. There’s nothing cool about that at any stage of a woman’s—a person’s—development. Non-pregnant women don’t like it when strangers touch their butt, or breast, or thigh. Pregnant women don’t like it when anyone uninvitedly touches her belly. Here’s a rule of thumb, men: when asking yourself how to physically engage with a strange woman, ask yourself if you would do the same thing to someone with a penis. If the answer is no, then what makes you think that the lack of a penis and the addition of breasts makes a person welcome your intrusion into her personal space?