Male pregnancy is a topic I used in class this week that resulted in heated—and I think revealing–discussions. Since my classrooms have a teacher’s computer and projector, we were able to see http://malepregnancy.com/. It is a very sophisticated site that purports to show the first human male pregnancy of Mr. Lee Mingwei. (With my limited knowledge of Chinese, his last name could mean “why tomorrow”). The website includes a picture of Mr. Mingwei on the cover of US News and World Report, an EKG of the fetus’ heart beat, and a short video of Mr. Mingwei visiting his doctor and reflecting on his pregnancy and what it might mean. If you haven’t seen this hoax site, check it out. I told only one of the classes at the beginning it was not true. After each class saw the site, I asked the students each to agree or disagree that male pregnancy was a good idea. The students positioned themselves on opposite sides of the classroom and needed to give good arguments to try to lure their classmates from the other side to change their positions.
Arguments for male pregnancy included –
- Males are stronger and are supposed to protect the women, so they should take on this painful and dangerous task.
- It would make male and female relationships more equal.
- It would promote equality.
- It would make men appreciate the burdens women suffer.
- It would allow men to experience carrying a baby and giving birth.
- It would allow men who could not find wives (in this country of 116 men to 100 women) to have their own babies. This was suggested by a guy who said he hadn’t found a girlfriend yet, so male pregnancy could be good for him (but I don’t think he has to worry). He was one of the two guys out of all the classes who said they agreed with male pregnancy.
- It could allow men to experience a special bond with their babies.
- It would allow homosexuals to have their own babies.
- It could be safer for the father to give birth because the doctors would pay close attention to him instead of ignoring the women as they do.
- One girl said she would give everything to a guy who would take on the burden of giving birth. Over and over again, the girls emphasized how painful giving birth is for the mothers. One girl said her mother told her never to have children because of the ordeal she would have to suffer.
- It could make the babies smarter because guys are cleverer than girls.
Arguments against male pregnancy – included
- It’s against God’s rules
- It’s against tradition.
- It would make the population grow faster and thus use up Earth’s resources more quickly.
- It would cost too much.
- It would result in no need for women. Why have sex then wondered one guy.
- The father wouldn’t be able to feed the child breast milk.
- It would be too dangerous for the father and the fetus.
- It would confuse the child who would not know what to call the birth parent. Would he be “Father” or “Mother”? This was a big concern for several students.
- It would make the guy look ugly.
- It would lead to big arguments among couples as to who would carry the child and would lead to bigger populations since each could choose to have a child.
Only one girl talked about the special ability that women have to carry a child and give birth.
I loved see the students passionate about their ideas. They expanded their English vocabularies, and I got a glimpse into their thinking and concerns. We also got to talk about the necessity to question all their sources and went to http://www.snopes.com/pregnant/malepreg.asp to check the veracity of site. We had fun, practiced critical thinking—and learned too.