Bryan Caplan  

Jolie on Pregnancy: Do You Believe Her?

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Angelina Jolie has more than enough money to make most of the downside of kids disappear. But now that she's pregnant with twins, all her money won't save her. Her reaction:

"It makes me feel that all the things about my body are suddenly there for a reason," she says in the July issue of Vanity Fair. "It makes you feel round and supple, and to have a little life inside you is amazing."

Plus, the actress says that her partner, Brad Pitt, "finds pregnancy very sexy. So that makes me feel very sexy."

The 32-year-old – already mom to Maddox, 6; Pax, 4; Zahara, 3; and Shiloh, 2, – also says she is awed by what the human body can do. When giving birth to daughter Shiloh, "I had a C-section and I found it fascinating. I didn't find it a sacrifice and I didn't find it a painful experience," she tells the magazine. "I found it a fascinating miracle of what a body can do."

Do you believe her? Or is Jolie just trying to make publicity lemonade out of a lemon of a situation?

Extra credit: If I believe her, does that make me a misogynist? Or is it doubting her that would so label me?


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COMMENTS (12 to date)

I don't think I'd consider a C-section "a fascinating miracle of what a body can do" but rather a fascinating exploration of what modern medical science can do to the body.

Leah writes:

I don't enjoy pregnancy but I have plenty of friends who love being pregnant. I don't mind labor and childbirth either, and only got the epidural at 9cm (long story) and had a 9 lb. 1 oz baby after the epi had worn off, so while it was painful it really wasn't that bad. And it certainly was fascinating. It would be nice of more people looked at it that way instead of buying into the fear that surrounds reproduction in our culture.

Sorge L. Diaz writes:

Dear Mr. Caplan;

You seem to be unfamiliar with feminist doctrine. Both choices would make you a misogynist. Men are always guilty until they can prove their innocence. No man that chooses either option would be able to prove their innocence afterwards.

Best regards;

jkc writes:
Extra credit: If I believe her, does that make me a misogynist? Or it is doubting her that would so label me?

Professor Caplan,

You're either being mischievous or overlooking something very obvious. (I suspect it's the former.)

Angelina Jolie may be telling the truth. However, she is but a single woman. Women, like men, are individuals. They have different tastes. Her quote is a mere fact about her. Maybe Jolie is typical, maybe atypical.

The only thing that would make you a misogynist would be if you thought that you were in a better position to understand women (and dictate their choices) than they are.

Les writes:

If she is telling the truth, I take my hat off to her with great respect.

And if she is not telling the truth, I still take my hat off to her with great respect.

It seems to me that she is simply expressing herself, and that it serves no useful purpose to speculate whether or not its true - which in any case cannot be determined.

hutch writes:

I can't figure out what the lemon situation is. Maybe the fact she sad a c-section rather than a vaginal birth? Sure, some women (like my wife, who has had two) feel bad they have c-sections because they feel they were deprived of the (overly romanticized) natural process of childbirth. Some feel bad because other women, who can't understand that some women have to have a c-section, look down on them. In either case, giving birth to a healthy baby is never a lemon situation. Like Robert alluded to before, the ability to have a c-section is a modern medical miracle that our mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers would have loved to have to "deal with" (rather than, say, labor for 36 hours and possibly die, along with the baby, in the process).

meep writes:

I've given birth the "regular way" and via C-section, and there is nothing particularly romantic or dignified about either. And both have their own particular pains.

But it surely is fascinating - pregnancy, childbirth (no matter the method, child development. And the medical technology available in the US is pretty nifty, too. I really enjoyed the "3D" sonograms.

mjh writes:
The only thing that would make you a misogynist would be if you thought that you were in a better position to understand women (and dictate their choices) than they are.
Why is that the criteria for misogyny? When I look up the definition, it tells me that this is hatred, dislike or mistrust of women. Thinking that your in a better position to understand women (and dictate their choices) seems like a stretch of that definition. For example, the average doctor knows more about women's reproduction system than the average woman.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that gives the doctor the right to dictate how a woman reproduces. But just because the doctor knows more, doesn't make him/her a misogynist. Nor does dictating another person's life make anyone a misogynist. That makes them a dictator.

IMHO, what makes a person a misogynist is that they hate, dislike or mistrust women.

Bryan Caplan writes:
hutch writes:

I can't figure out what the lemon situation is. Maybe the fact she sad a c-section rather than a vaginal birth? ...In either case, giving birth to a healthy baby is never a lemon situation. Like Robert alluded to before, the ability to have a c-section is a modern medical miracle that our mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers would have loved to have to "deal with" (rather than, say, labor for 36 hours and possibly die, along with the baby, in the process).

Of course I'm 100% in favor of healthy babies and it's great to have the C-section as a medical option. My question was: Do you believe Jolie's claim that being pregnant with twins is, by itself, a pleasant experience for her? It's one thing to say that it's all worth it when you hold your baby for the first time; it's another to claim that you like the pregnancy process.

jkc writes:

The only thing that would make you a misogynist would be if you thought that you were in a better position to understand women (and dictate their choices) than they are.

I agree with mjh that this has nothing to do with misogyny. If thinking you are in a good position to dictate women's choice makes you a misogynist, then almost every politician and almost every bureaucrat is a misogynist. Government officials dictate women's (and men's) pension plans, that women (and men) fasten their seat belts, and that women (and men) not take certain drugs. All these are on pain of going to prison.

Jim Glass writes:

When my wife was pregnant with our first it did not make her feel sexy at all. And when you don't feel sexy at all, you aren't.

OTOH, during Lamaze class they had us all change partners for some screwy reason, and I was paired up with a real-life professional actress who wasn't Angelina fame-wise but sure wasn't far behind her in other visible ways, and giving her all those massages and stretching her out and having her breathe and talk closely into my ear ... wow.

With our second kid my wife said, "We skip the Lamaze."

Jim Glass writes:

Bryan Caplan writes:

My question was: Do you believe Jolie's claim that being pregnant with twins is, by itself, a pleasant experience for her?

I'm in the middle of having a root canal done right now, and my dentist is right in the middle of being pregnant with twins.

I don't know what effect it is having on her, she seems happy enough -- and I sincerly hope that it is making her joyful, aiding her powers of cocentration, and improving her eye-hand coordination.

I don't want to think at all that being pregnant with twins could cause one to be miserable and take it out on others. So let's just assume Ms. Jolie is being honest here.

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