Laura Schwietering, schwiela@muohio.edu

I was appalled by the content in the article “Sidewalk etiquette 101” that ran in The Miami Student Tuesday, Sept. 21. The entire article was offensive, but the truly appalling content was found in the section that addressed pregnant women.

Sidewalks are a public space and every person, regardless of race, gender, size, ability, disability or any other characteristic has a right to use them. Pregnant women should not be expected to “arrive on the sidewalks earlier than others so as to avoid traffic congestion.” If it is bothering you that much or if you are in a hurry, step in the grass and go around her! In addition, the phrases used to describe pregnant women were downright disrespectful.  

Pregnant women make huge sacrifices to bring life into this world.  I especially did not appreciate the derogatory slants in the article that were directed at pregnant women including “their (pregnant women’s) waddling form is downright disgusting,” “You could be the cutest woman alive, but if that belly holds a fetus, you are instantly an uggo” and “bloated sex maniac.”

Pregnant women are also referred to as “pregos” and “pregers.” These degrading terms are incredibly offensive and inexcusable. Pregnant women should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. They are literally responsible for the propagation of the species. Pregnant women already have enough things to worry about (doctor’s appointments, vitamins, nutrition, accumulating expenses, family matters, school, work, et cetera), they do not and should not have to be concerned with being considerate sidewalk users any more than the rest of us. Many institutions have reserved parking spots for expectant mothers. That should be our approach as a society toward pregnant women, not the other way around. Pregnant women have chosen life, oftentimes despite the fact that their pregnancy was unplanned or they are already under difficult circumstances. It is our responsibility as a society (and as fellow women) to protect, defend and respect these women.

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