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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Women as Incubators is Their "Sacred Birthright"

Sociological Images has a great post about pregnancy test commercials. The commercial in reference is for First Response pregnancy tests where the pregnant woman's head is chopped out of the screen, demonstrating the belief that women are only as useful as their ability to procreate. This woman does not have an identity. Her only purpose is the serve as an incubator for a fetus/baby. (Sociological Images did not have a video, only screen shots of the commercial)

The voice over of the commercial reads:

The moment we pass from womanhood to motherhood, we cross a threshold. For many of us, that step is filled with wish and worry, hope and how, wonder and when. Fertility is a woman’s most sacred birthright. For over twenty years, First Response has been there, helping women answer the most important questions of their lives. Now we bring you new help: the First Response fertility test for women.

The post on Sociological Images has some great commentary on this commercial. By stating that "fertility is a woman's most sacred birthright," First Response is again showing that a woman's only purpose in life is to be a baby incubator. Ryan on Sociological Images so rightly points out,
Strangely, I never see Viagra commercials arguing that knocking people up is a man’s most sacred birthright.

Also, by separating womanhood from motherhood, First Response places motherhood on a higher plane than womanhood, again promoting valuing a woman solely for her reproductive capabilities.
…”womanhood” and “motherhood” are presented as two separate things, with motherhood trumping womanhood. I’m assuming this is partly because a woman is not allowed to have a sex drive after she becomes a mother, and we all know that a woman without a sex drive is the higher form of woman.

Also, if you notice in the screen shot that the woman has a ring on, placing "normal" sex solely within a marriage. Unmarried women who get pregnant are whores because it is only a "sacred birthright" within a marriage.

Pregnancy tests make their money off of portraying women as incubators, not just in this First Response commercial, but in others as well. They strive to show motherhood as something special, sacred, and unique but just end up showing women that who they are doesn't matter as long as they have children (within marriage).

In addition, women who choose not to or cannot have children are seen as lesser than. Since motherhood is the ultimate goal and women's "sacred birthright", women who do not have children are obviously not real women.

Before reading the post about this commercial on Sociological Images, I had seen it on Hulu. It had bothered me when I had seen it, but this post helped me to better understand what exactly was bothering me. To contact First Response about this ad, go here. To contact Hulu about their airing of the commercial, click here.


Tom said...

Most likely her face was cropped out to give the image a universal appeal. By not being able to personalise and localise the pregnancy it becomes - every womans pregnancy.

Plus the womans basic physique is one of sensual elegance - suggesting calm and beauty. Like a woman in charge of her castle.

If you want to go further (and you really can) - the olive skin suggests earthy and natural,

the elegant silk toga is reminscent of the ancient world, rome perhaps? Suggesting 'age old', consequently natural.

Most clever about this advert however is that if you actually look closely at her stomach, you will notice that a crease seperates it underneath the breast and another above the pelvis - which lends the belly a slight 'yin yang' image.

See it? Very well designed actually.

Oh, as for the post, im stunned that feminists are denying birth now. The ability to create life isnt good enough ey? You have to turn even your spiritual trump cards into slights against yourself. Very odd.

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