Raw, adjective: 4. painfully open, as a sore or wound.

Oh, ugh.

So I realize that my academic interests tend to make me see the world through certain eyes. As in, commodification everywhere you turn. Emotions, sex, relationships, all of it turned into commodities. And there is some fascinating research on this out there in case you want to spend a hot Friday night with the sociology of emotions. (Just sayin'.)

But here's a perfect pop-culture example. This morning's NY Times Style section features yet another of its alarmingly shallow reflections of what it means to be upper-income and privileged in America, chasing after The Things That Really Matter. Like "push presents." What's a push-present, you say? It's the expensive gift, usually in jewelry form, that apparently new mothers are angling for long before the kid is actually born. The notion that "getting sick [and] ruining their bodies" should be rewarded with something big and sparkly and expensive to show off the baby daddy's earning potential.

Materialistic, anyone? How about childbirth commodified? There are a ton of fascinating books out there about how pregnancy and childbirth have been commodified in the last fifty years or so (reference surrogacy, sperm/egg donorship, in-vitro fertilization, etc.), and this notion of the "push-present" is yet another addition to that canon. Once again the market mentality - "you give me this (spawn), I'll give you that in exchange for your (literal) labor" - weaves its way into that most non-capitalist of experiences: giving birth.

Wowza. I dunno what to say. Except that if and when I pop some babies out, you don't have to worry about the diamond rings, all you future baby daddies out there. A bottle of Scotch will do just fine.

"A Bundle of Joy Isn't Enough?" (Times)


molly said…
crazy coincidence, i had JUST read that article when i flipped to your blog and you had written about it! i was blabbering a comment back to you and realized it was getting long. so maybe ill just post my thoughts on push-presents on my blog too.
Bacon Dad said…
I don't have a problem with giving your wife/girlfriend/surrogate a gift for having successfully popped out a kid; what irks me is the wearing of jewelry to demonstrate one's husband's financial health, and that doesn't really have to do with popping out babies. Rich blondes with SUVs and 3-carat diamond tennis bracelets are pretty annoying whether they have kids or not.

On the other hand, if I found myself in a state of ridiculous solvency (something in the 8 figure range would be okay) and HW wanted a 3-carat tennis bracelet, I'd probably buy it for her.

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