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July 15, 2017

It's Not Just Gal, It's All (Pregnant) Gals

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Before and during the publicity trail for DC's latest superhero(ine) movie 'Wonder Woman', controversy was the name of the day. Many believed having a female director (Patty Jenkins, known for Academy Award-winning 'Monster') at the helm of usually male-orientated subject would make it unbankable and cause a Box Office crash. There were protests to all-woman screenings of the film. And try not to mention the so-called flops of Zack Snyder's attempts at reimagining Batman and Superman and the great disappointment that was 'Suicide Squad'. One of the details that popped out during the trail was the fact that Gal Gadot was actually five months pregnant during reshooting, a fact that brought her much praise. You know, because pregnant women are supposed to be barefoot and working in the kitchen, or something.

I can see why this fact is so stupendous to some. Gal Gadot certainly had her fair share of physical activity to undertake, but we must remember that she had an entire team of professionals guiding her every step of every move, and certainly a lot of help in the form of blue screens and such.

Of course, producer Chuck Roven was quoted as saying that she couldn't do a huge amount of physical activity and she was really just 'being aggressive'. Obviously not something pregnant women do, right? And since the reshoots weren't for really crazy scenes, let's be honest and say then that all pregnant women are Wonder Women.


Why do I say this? Certainly pregnant women may not all engage in martial arts activities, but there are some who perform equally taxing tasks while pregnant, including rock climbing at eight months, competing in the Olympics, weight training, ran marathons, or winning a tennis tournament. Physical activity is in fact encouraged during pregnancy, unless it involves heavy lifting or anything very strenuous. Hell, even regular mothers are Wonder Women: carrying around their other toddlers, lugging grocery bags, doing yoga, dealing with dirty dishes and laundry and floors and faces, and still managing to hold a job they're most likely to consider leaving after giving birth to baby because of discrimination.

I struggled to find an explanation for the idea that we still have in society that pregnant women are weak and the only concept I've come up with is that women between the 16th and 18th centuries were taught by doctors that they had to control their thoughts and desires because everything they thought and desired had a direct effect on the wellbeing of the baby: for example, having lustful thoughts would turn your baby into a hermaphrodite, or being scared of an elephant would create a child that looked like an elephant, or eating strawberries would result in birthmarks. Yeah, about as ridiculous as believing a woman's uterus moved around her body! Ha. Oh wait, they believed that once, too. Obviously something went wrong quite often, especially if we're considering birthmarks a defect, and it was all the mother's fault - it was her weakness that caused the defect, and this mental weakness soon translated into a physical weakness.

And of course the media just loves to play on these old fears by sensationalising news stories featuring pregnant women in danger and, of course, famous pregnant women who manage athletic feats during pregnancy (like our Gal). Or inspiring debate about women who appear to put their children at risk (according to many people's educated opinions).

So while Gal's reshoots at five months are impressive, there are amazing things being done by pregnant women every day. They may not make headlines, but they do make big differences to the people they love and themselves.

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