Jane Pratt's New Site Uses Sex to Sell Miscarriage. Why?Carolyn Castiglia
Since many of you are in throes of life with more than one small child running around, you may not be aware that Jane Pratt, founder of girly rags Sassy and JANE, has launched a new website. It’s called xoJane, and it’s written in a tone similar to the one used at her (now defunct) eponymous magazine.
To be completely frank, I never really liked JANE, though I did buy it from time to time. (I’m more of a BUST girl – I’d rather DIY my way to the top than break through the glass ceiling wearing Manolos.) Maybe that’s why I’m sort of dismayed about the site’s front page article, which uses the headline “Why My Boobs Are Huge” along with a photo (left) of Pratt squeezing her “huge boobs” (come on, they’re not that big – have you seen Ice T’s wife Coco?) as a lead to talk about – of all things – miscarriage.
Since I’ve had the essay open on my laptop, I’ve clicked through a few other posts on xoJane like My Rapist Friended Me on Facebook (And All I Got Was This Lousy Article) and Hey New Mom: You’re Fat! I related to the first article (articlette?) in more than one way, having hung out for a time with a similar crew of burnouts as the ones described in the piece and having been sent a Facebook friend request by an old boyfriend who hit me over the head with my high school yearbook. (Needless to say, the last thing I was looking for from him was another poke.) But why the glib titles, ladies? In the rape piece, the author takes pains to say that she learned more from one phone conversation with her abuser than she did from years of therapy, and the post’s title completely undercuts that. We all know sensational headlines to be an unfortunate yet integral part of blog life, but I’d rather see a title that over-emphasizes the pain of a bad experience than one that undermines the severity of rape.
Re: the fat mom, I almost fell in love with her (a thick chick who decides to buck the system and sew her own clothes in order to bolster her body acceptance? Yes, please!) until the end of the piece when she described losing 40 pounds as a “sell-out.” (If you really feel you sold out by losing weight, then why did you do it? If you feel you made a healthy choice, great, back that up! If you’re conflicted about wanting to be healthy but also feel a desire to represent for the gravy ladies, let me hear about that super-interesting stance!) This isn’t about critiquing anyone’s writing skills (because Lord knows I’m no Bronte sister), but rather to say there’s something about the “hey gal pal, let’s talk about rape the same way we do about new fall sweaters!” tone of Pratt’s former mags and her new site that gets under my skin.
Alright. Now that’s off my chest… if you’ve experienced the loss of a twin pregnancy at 5 months (which I thought, when it happened to my former sister-in-law, was a rare occurance) or have dealt with secondary infertility, you may want to commiserate with Pratt. The tale of her molar pregnancy is pretty gripping, at least when she writes, “Then at 8 weeks, I was driving home from a friend’s house and miscarried all over the seat.” Now that’s a crazy detail I want to hear more about (what did you do? how did you feel?), but unfortunately her description ends there.
I applaud Pratt for being brave enough to talk about her miscarriages, something more and more women dealing with pregnancy complications feel compelled to do as part of their healing process. I haven’t had a miscarriage, but I have a close friend who had several in the hopes of getting pregnant, and she has an excellent (and dark) sense of humor about the whole thing. If Pratt’s big boob reference had been used later in her piece as a punchline, I wouldn’t have balked, but I don’t understand why she feels the need to sell sex upfront to an audience of women in order to lure them into a discussion about life and death. (I’m ready to go there from the jump, Jane, even without the titty ref. I don’t really need the foreplay.) Is she trying to appeal to the 17-year-old demographic by talking down to them? I hope not. The arc of the piece as it stands is essentially, “My boobs are huge in this pic cuz I was preggers but the babies died so now my boobs are small again. Guess it wasn’t meant to be.”
The post is tagged in the “Family Drama” section of the site, and as far as I can tell, this is the first time Pratt has ever told the public about her miscarriages. She may not have been sure how to broach such a huge subject with her readers, and I can sympathize with that plight. The first time I ever went hog wild and spilled my guts on stage about the demise of my marriage, I tried to tell the story of ten years in ten minutes. I left the audience dizzy and in need of an explanation, much like Pratt has done.
Pratt’s essay ends with a YouTube video of her interviewing her daughter (who does not appear on screen) about where the lost twins might be now. I couldn’t get through the whole thing because I found it kind of unsettling, but I’ve certainly been through enough trauma in my own life to know everyone deals with grief and struggle in their own way. I support Pratt’s decision to tell her story, I only hope going forward she’ll share more of what’s happened in her no doubt fascinating personal (and professional) life without relying on her “huge boobs” to tell the tale.
Source and photo: xoJane
Babble Feature: Why hide miscarriage? I was glad everyone knew.