The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy’

Does This Ad Make YOU Want To Read Essential Baby?

Posted by Clem Bastow on November 24, 2009

How much do I not want to click-through to Essential Baby today? Let me count the ways:

So, for those keeping score, that’s a faceless/objectified (pregnant) woman, wearing “sexy” lingerie, referred to as “like mini-vans”, under the banner “Pregnant women: hot or not?” and all within an ad roughly the size of a credit card. I believe that’s some sort of a record!

Yes, that is precisely how they are advertising Fairfax Digital’s parenting site via sidebars on The ad links to “Essential Baby blogger” Joseph Kelly’s blog entry on whether or not he found his wife – the aforementioned “transportational unit for conveying children” (which isn’t as offensive as the decontextualised excerpt might suggest).

Stay classy, Essential Baby!


Posted in body image, Family, Media Watch, Parenting & Family, Watching The Ad Breaks | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Pregnant Woman Stripsearched In QLD Bottleshop

Posted by Clem Bastow on January 29, 2009

We hope you’ll forgive the infrequent posting this week; all but one of the Chorus are based in Melbourne and we’re currently in the middle of a 100-year heatwave! It’s not condusive to particularly rational or eloquent thought, but I could certainly tell heat-stress from pure rage when I read this story this morning: a woman, eight months pregnant, has been forced to undergo a stripsearch – in full public view – in a Queensland bottleshop after staff became suspicious that she was shoplifting:

A 40-year old Ipswich woman, who was eight-and-a-half months’ pregnant, was forced to lift her shirt after being wrongly accused of shoplifting at the Springfield Lakes 1st Choice Liquor store on Monday.

The woman, who was taking her time with her purchase, was buying a birthday present for a friend.

The distraught woman was told if she refused the search in full view of other customers, police would be called.


Queensland Consumer Watch spokesman and Ipswich Councillor Paul Tully described the incident as totally appalling and an invasion of individual rights.

“This is a matter for the police, not voyeurs working in liquor stores forcing pregnant women to undertake partial strip searches in front of other beady-eyed customers,” he said.

Incredible! The store’s feeble excuse for the gross invasion of privacy was that there had been an incident a week or so earlier when a shoplifter posed as a pregnant woman in order to cart out stolen goods.

I’m completely zonked from heat right now and my knowledge of the intricacies of Queensland law in these instances is limited; can any Sunshine State readers shed any light on whether this is even legal?

Posted in Media Watch, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Tick Tock Goes The Biological Clock

Posted by Clem Bastow on September 11, 2008

The idea of women having a ‘biological clock’ when it comes to having babies has long been a favoured punchline in the battle of the sexes (not to mention television situational comedy and chick lit). But is it a compelling reality (for some women) driven by, well, biology, or simply a societal pressure that has made its way into our collective subconscious? A group of NSW researchers seem to believe it’s the former:

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research is targeting professional Sydney women aged between 25 and 35, warning that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not enough to preserve fertility, and IVF cannot be considered a fail-safe back-up plan.

Newtown gynaecologist Gabrielle Dezarnaulds said women have a fixed number of eggs to last them a lifetime and fertility drops sharply from the late 30s as the number and quality of eggs dwindle.

Success rates for assisted reproductive technology also decline the longer a woman’s biological clock has been ticking, she said.

“I’m not saying you should get pregnant before a set age, but go and chat to your GP, even if you’re not aiming to get pregnant immediately. Work out a time frame when you might start to, and if you are ready to have a baby, get on with it.”

Generally speaking, when research/opinions like these are aired, there is always a bristling amongst women (myself included) who sometimes feel it paints them as little more than baby factories who need to get cracking; the former Howard Government’s “one for you, one for the country” initiatives did little to ease these worries.

But is it worth considering what bearing waiting to have children may have on those of us who choose to have babies? There is something to be said about scientific (rather than societal) ideas of when the female body is most fertile. What are your thoughts on the issue – do you have a biological clock, and is it ticking?

Posted in Family, Media Watch, Sex And Love, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Sunday Tele Waggles Its Judging Finger At Four-Star Mums

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 27, 2008

You know what? However a woman chooses to have a baby, whether at home, in a hospital, underwater, with loads of drugs, no drugs at all, vaginally or via caesarean, or in a spaceship cubby with pan-pipes playing and a Batman mask on, that’s her choice (and her partner’s). So what a joy to see the Sunday Telegraph come up with this doozy of a graphic to illustrate their story on ‘maternity hotels’:

Let’s see, what can we count here: there’s the odious “What Recession?” moral/economic judgment based on the apparent frippery of mothers choosing to give birth in a “luxury” environment. There’s the naff sexualisation of the mother-to-be in the photo via the headline made to conjure up thoughts of porno mags (“Penthouse Beach Babes”). Assuming the woman in the photograph is Cinta Taylor, who is interviewed in the story, how do you think she would feel about this bit of photo editing?

‘Maternity hotels’ are nothing new; there are options at certain Melbourne hospitals to have one night in the ward proper after giving birth, and then transferring to a hotel nearby with a nurse and midwife on standby; Sofitel Melbourne and Frances Perry House offer one such program, with costs covered by private health funds (in other words, in this instance, the Tele‘s “what recession” gripe is redundant). It’s just another option in the myriad options available to prospective mothers, and I have absolutely no problem with it whatsoever. But like any new concept in obstetrics, the ‘maternity hotel’ has its detractors and supporters; from the Tele article:

Australian College of Midwives president Professor Pat Brodie said anecdotal feedback from interstate was that women enjoyed the luxuries of a hotel while having midwifery care.

“Midwives providing post-natal care in a social setting like a hotel would appreciate the opportunity to provide continuity of care, get to know the woman and offer advice and support,” Professor Brodie said.

“Sometimes that’s difficult in busy post-natal wards.”

This is not a perfect answer to the problems of hospital crowding, nor is it the definitive way to have a baby. But if a mother-to-be has an uncomplicated birth and decides to spend the first few days of baby bonding in a four-star hotel room, I see no reason why she should be chastised for apparently spending too much, or for – heavens above – giving herself and her partner and newborn a treat. I am not one of those “motherhood is the most amazing thing any woman can do” people, but you know, if you do do it, well done you – have some room service and a pay-per-view new release! You’re worth it!

There are already too many value judgments made on mothers (see ‘too posh to push’, to breastfeed or not, blah, blah, blah) and I can see that this is just another excuse for the conservative media to tut-tut at mothers, who just can’t seem to please anyone these days.

Posted in Family, Media Watch, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Your Daily ‘Daily Mail’ Groan: Ulrika Jonsson And That Pesky “Baby Weight”

Posted by Clem Bastow on June 25, 2008

For those of you who didn’t spend their teen years obsessively reading Tatler and Harper’s Bazaar, Ulrika Jonsson is a Swedish-born UK television personality, who has just had a baby. Let’s take a look at what the Daily Mail has to say about her, shall we?

“Highlights” bolded for your “enjoyment”:

Ulrika Jonsson

Real Mum: Glowing Ulrika’s Not Ashamed Of Her Baby Weight

Far from going on a crash diet to rid herself of her extra baby weight, glowing Ulrika Jonsson is in no hurry to lose her new curves.

The Swedish blonde happily showed off her bulging tummy as she was pictured out with three-week-old baby Malcolm – her fourth child by a fourth man – for the first time.

Wow, I know the Mail is a total smorgasbord of misogynist horrors, but really, where do you start with this? First of all, with the words “curves”, “bulging” and “baby weight”, which we all know are sub-editors’ magical codewords for fat fat fatty. Stories like this are the worst sort, because they seem to be embracing all sizes and not indulging in the hysteria that surrounds celebrity pregnancy these days, when in fact they’re far more pernicious. And secondly, “her fourth child by a fourth man”? Oh yes they di’id, and you know what they mean: loose woman.

As you get to know us all here at The Dawn Chorus, you’ll see that one of my personal bugbears is the way the media (specifically the “gossip” media and so-called “women’s publishing”) approaches pregnancy. Initially it was just celeb-specific, but through the trickle-down effect we now have Cosmo Pregnancy and women talking about their growing bellies as “baby bumps”.

And I don’t think you need me to tell you that Ulrika looks beautiful.

Posted in Media Watch | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »