"Pregnant Women are Smug" is bad and it should feel bad

The offending song is here.

Don’t want to hijack the other thread further so I just want to note this here instead.

This song’s humor comes from a supposed smugness inherent in the example conversations illustrated at points throughout the song. The humor doesn’t hit for me, because I find the joke to be predicated on some pretty egregiously unfair assumptions.

In the first conversation, one woman asks “is it a boy or a girl?” The reply is “It doesn’t matter, as long as its healthy.” Then the conversation continues, but stop there for a second.

That is where the line of questioning should have ended. The first person asked a single polite question, and the second person politely deflected the question, indicating she doesn’t know (or possibly, does but would rather not say, though this is not strictly indicated) and isn’t interested in pursuing the topic.

That should be it. End of conversation. Nothing smug happening. Polite question, polite deflection, now let’s go talk about something else.

But the questioner persists. Argumentatively no less! “Really, because the two [i.e. sex of baby and its being healthy] don’t seem related.” The reply comes back again: “Oh it doesn’t matter, as long as they’re healthy.”

This is painted in the song as a smug repetition of the previous answer. But the thing is, the questioner shouldn’t have pursued it in the first place. It is unfair to make a judgment about the answerer given that she’s been put on the spot in the first place by the rudeness of the questioner!

It should be acknowledged that the further pursuit of the question is probably meant to give voice to the narrators’ “inner monologue,” so to speak–they’re saying “this is what we think when the answerer gives that first answer.” But the problem is they shouldn’t be thinking that. They shouldn’t be mad at the answer in the first place. They should understand it for what it is–a polite deflection, offered politely by a person who is under no obligation to say anything else.

Second conversation runs similarly. “What are you going to name it?” The reply comes back: “We know, but we’re not telling.”

Then the questioner sings, “Bitch, I don’t really care! I was being polite!”

So yes it’s within the realm of politeness (but note: not REQUIRED by politeness) to ask about the name of the baby. But the woman is not being “smug” by refusing to give the name. The fact is that women face the most insanely and inappropriately judgmental sentiments when they tell people what name they’ve chosen for their baby. It’s a sensitive topic, and they are perfectly within their rights not to say what the name is until they’re ready. It is not “smug” to say “we’re not telling.”

And here’s the thing: You don’t HAVE to care. Moreover, you don’t HAVE to ask about it. Politeness does not require it. Politeness permits it, but no more than that. If you ask, you’re inviting the pregnant woman to talk about the pregnancy, but it’s an invitation she’s under no obligation to accept. You should talk about the baby only if you’re both interested in doing so. If you’re not–then don’t ask. And if she’s not, then that’s okay. It is not smug, it is just like any other case where a person would rather talk about something else.

Every person is different. I am sure there are pregnant women who exhibit exactly the spirit this song illustrates–though I have to say I’ve known a lot of pregnant women and zero of them came close to this. But the thing is, plenty of them did say exactly the things said in this song (including my wife) and to assume this constitutes or exhibits some kind of “smugness” is egregiously unfair. I’d even call it cruel. It puts women in a catch 22. They can talk about the baby and be thought full of themselves for talking so much about it. Or they can deflect the conversation and be thought full of themselves for being “smug!”

The thing with “smug” is that, by your arguments (which I don’t disagree with), no one should be annoyed by smugness. You don’t have to care, and you certainly don’t have to be irritated that someone else is pleased with themselves. Even if you feel their pride is unjustified, we should just be happy that someone else is happy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that.

But it goes both ways. You don’t have to listen to, or care about, this song.

Regarding that last statement, there are some important distinctions here. The treatment of women by social forces is something I think we should care about, and I do care about, and a song like this offers a great opportunity for discussing exactly that topic. So no, I don’t have to care, but I do, and so I talk about it. Meanwhile, as I said, the person in the song doesn’t have to care, but if she does, it’s fine to ask. But if she’s deflected by the answer, there’s nothing wrong (much less) smug about that.

I don’t quite follow your argument in your first paragraph. Why am I committed to saying no one should be annoyed by smugness? I’m denying that the pregnant woman who says the things portrayed in this song is necessarily smug in the first place.

It’s a song. You’re getting entirely too worked up about it.

Really? You’ve been a member here for thirteen years. Do you really not by now know the next thing to think before typing the above?

They’re comedians. Considering they’ve done a song about how clueless they are at giving handjobs, I’m pretty sure a lot of their songs are poking fun of themselves as well.

To be clear, what I’m saying in the OP is not about the comedians, its about the song. For all I care the comedians were thinking about turtle endocrinology when they wrote the thing.

So it totally can’t be a song about how bitchy people/they are about pregnant women? OK.

That could be what they were thinking for all I care. It definitely isn’t how the song comes through to any person I’ve ever seen respond to it.

The problem is you think “Pregnant Women Are Smug” is a song about how pregnant women are smug. It’s not.

It’s a song about still being at a point in your life when you still don’t have it together, still don’t feel like you’ve accomplished near as much as you want, and you look around and see that many of your peers, people your age, people you partied with in your 20s are starting families, settling down, buying houses, moving on to the next stage in their lives.

It’s a song about being the woman who is not pregnant and can’t imagine being ready for it anytime soon while more and more of her friends are growing more and more unrelatable as they move on to their new lives.

It’s a song for all those non-pregnant 30-somethings to sing together and say “God, I know just how that feels!”

It’s like getting together with your co-workers and ditching shit on the guy who got the promotion that you got rejected for. Taken to its extreme, this is a very ugly unhealthy way to be. Still, all of us feel this pangs of these kinds of ill feelings toward others at times and as long as we don’t take it to extremes, as long as we don’t allow ourselves to be overcome by bitterness and resentment, it is entirely healthy and helpful to talk shit with our friends over matters on which we can relate.

Regardless of what the pregnant woman’s reason might be for not answering, when you’re asking someone questions and they’re like, “Hahahaaaah, I don’t have to answer!”, it’s reasonable to think of that person as being smug. They might not be answering because they have superstitions or whatever else, but if they give no such indication and dance around your questions, it’s reasonable for people to assume that the person’s just being highfalutin.

More importantly, it’s a comedy routine. You’re assuming that one of the people in the story is supposed to be the good guy and the other the bad guy. There’s no reason that the humor can’t be based around both characters being the bad guy or the nervousness over who is actually in the wrong and in the right, in this sort of situation.

Gotta go with Superdude on this one. If I posted a tread on every song I was offended by, I’d be here forever (how many songs does Kanye have, anyway?) Nobody is going to agree with you, so let it go.

Never heard of that song before. Freaking hysterical. And true! I’ve had friends who sounded like that, and I’m sure I spouted a cliche or two while pregnant.

It’s just an amusing look at a moment in time for some women. Thought it was pretty funny.

Lighten up, Francis.

This is utterly ridiculous. They’re not “dancing around the question” in some kind of oneupmanship pissing contest. And automatically assuming they’re “highfalutin” is completely Unreasonable.

Gently avoiding answering these inquiries is far more polite than saying “None of your goddamn business” or “That’s a really personal question, don’t you think?” You are not entitled to some answers, and if someone can’t read this from such obvious verbal cues, then they’re socially inept.

I always thought the song was hilarious. Then again, I’ve never been pregnant.

Is this thread performance art? A huge whoosh?.
They are comedians, and damn good ones.

I won’t argue about what the song is about, as that (important as it is) is open to interpretation*.

But what it says is clear–and as can be seen in this thread, the other thread, and many other online interactions, for many, many people (I’d be surprised if it weren’t most) their enjoyment of the song is predicated on thinking that what it says (that pregnant women are smug) is significantly true.

*What it’s about can turn on deep (and important, for its own purpose) stuff about what kind of shared fears the song is tapping into, etc, just as you say. But my point doesn’t concern what the song is “about” in that sense. So to give a parallel example, I can imagine arguing that a song from the old south in the USA is “about” fears of loss of cultural cohesion. Well and good, and that can be an important and meaningful discussion. ALSO important and meaningful is what the song actually says, and if it says black people are inferior, then its being “about” the other thing doesn’t make it any less important to recognize its pernicious message.

Yup, this is basically the same (in content, a little gentler in tone) as what I would have said in response to your post, Sage Rat.

I don’t even see “doesn’t matter, as long as it’s healthy” as a polite deflection. For some people it’s just the plain truth, as amazing as it may seem to those with a strong gender bias. The questioner apepars to be nosy (because it’s no business of his), entitled (because he believes that he should be given this private information even though see previous parenthesis) and sexist (because he can’t conceive of someone who’s more worried about the correct number of fingers and toes than about whether the genitalia is an innie or an outie).