Women. Must. Deliver the Babies.

I haven’t formed a complete opinion of the women of Lost.  I do like that Kate-the-bank-robber (and whatever else she did, don’t tell me, I haven’t got that far yet) is a woman, and I do wish that someone (of the main characters) besides the pregnant girl was something other than rail thin. 

 That aside, I’m afraid I haven’t given it too much thought yet.  (Bad feminist!)  But I really really hated the way the delivery of Claire’s baby played out.  Jack the doctor, the natural choice for delivering the baby, wasn’t available.  Fine.  Even if he was fighting an obviously losing battle for Boone’s life, at least we know he did everything possible.  And I can suspend disbelief that only Charlie the out-of-work ex-rockstar ex-heroin addict, Jin the Korean enforcer almost-a-hit-man, and Kate the afore-mentioned bank-robber/fugitive would be present.  I can’t remember why Sun, the Korean woman with all the herbal/nursing skills didn’t come and help.  But okay, fine, they’re out in the jungle with a fire and not much else, and those three to delivery the baby.  I can accept that dynamic.

But here’s where it gets bizarre.  Doctor Jack tells Charlie, when Charlie goes to get him to deliver the baby, “Tell Kate she’s going to have to do this.”  Then he tells him what to do – cut the cord, etc.  Charlie even displays some knowledge of birthing – “How am I going to tell if she’s dilated?”  I didn’t know what dilated was until my best friend had a baby.  And he’s taking ownership – how can I tell?

 So he goes back to where Claire has collapsed on the path and he and Kate engage in an almost-screaming match.  Kate categorically refuses – “I am not going to do this,” she says.  But Charlie insists, and she caves.   Kate?  Caves?  Since when?  I really really expected, when Charlie said she had to, for Kate to say, “No, I don’t,” and walk away.  I was astonished when she caved and did it.

But what really chafed me is the idea that only one person needed to deliver the baby.  As the story continues to cut back to Claire’s delivery, eventually you get to the real business of delivery and there’s Kate and Claire by the fire, with the camera above Claire’s left shoulder – no bloody immodesty here, no, none at all.  Across the way, some thirty feet away and out of the circle of firelight, Jin and Charlie watch and Charlie wrings his hands.  Claire screams (only a little, there might be children watching you know) and Charlie starts forward – but Jin (who speaks no English) grips Charlie’s arm and shakes his head.

It’s a tableau familiar from pioneer midwifing scenes in old Westerns – the men congregate in the hallway or outside and listen with concerned faces until the baby comes and then pound each other on the back as if they had done something.  It’s slightly bizarre since Charlie is cast in the role of the husband even though he only met Claire when their plane crashed, but roles are clear.

Are men supposed to be bad luck to birthing?  Would one untrained woman be better somehow than two untrained men and one untrained woman working together?  Did Claire not need anyone to hold her hand or head – she’s lying on the ground, after all?  And if it’s modesty we are concerned with, then why are the men sitting where they can see just everything (other than the obvious that that’s the only way you can get Charlie’s reactions in the background of Kate’s actions and Claire’s heaving and screams) instead of sitting by the fire like normal people?

Comments

  1. scarlett says

    Sounds like yet another poorly thought out storyline :(

    As far as Vlaire not being thin goes, I remember when she was on Roswell there were a few complaints that she wasn’t tall and slim like Isabel and Max were, ergo, how were they meant to believe she was part of their ‘family’? Personally I hope she doesn’t loose too much weight now that she’s famous…

  2. S. A. Bonasi says

    Re: The Birthing Scene – I honestly hadn’t thought about that, but you make some great points.

    Re: The Women of Lost – I’ll be vague so I don’t spoil you. I’m actually pretty disappointed in how the writers handle Kate, particularly in the latest [third] season. On the flipside, the show introduces some other female characters who are Awesome. It tends to be a mixed bag.

    Re: Charlie – I’d love to hear what you think about the character and how the writers handle him when you get a bit farther along in the show.

  3. Firebird says

    Hey Scarlett, I’m surprised I didn’t recognize Claire/Tess. I see it now that you say it, but I’m feeling ultra silly because I’m actually *watching* Roswell and Lost simultaneously. *grin* She’s still on the thin side, but I hope with you that she maintains a handle on her self image.

    S.A.-I’ll look forward to meeting new characters and try not to hope too much for Kate. *sigh* I liked her. As far as Charlie, I like him. Maybe we can talk more off site or something. :-)

  4. S. A. Bonasi says

    Firebird,

    The frustrating thing about Kate is that she’ll be awesome one episode and then the next will be making me want to thwap the writers on the head with a copy of Feminism 101.

    I’ll be out of town this weekend, but feel free to stop by my blog sabonasi.livejournal.com or email me at sa@bonasi.com. BTW, how far in the series are you?

  5. scarlett says

    Firebird, I don’t watch Lost, but I remember thinking ‘haha on the Liz/Max shippers ‘cos both Tess/Emilie and Isabel/Katherine ended up with hit shows when the other two slipped into oibscurity’. I REALLY hated those shippers, they were the meanest lot I ever met, INCLUDING the Sam/Jack shippers, but I did quite enjoy the show, so sadly enugh, I know where most of the actors ended up :p

    I remember Tess/Emilie having quite a short, round (by Hollywood standards, anyway) build and there were a few comments at the time Tess was intrtoduced that she didn’t fit in because she wasn’t built like Katherine Heigl.REALLY pissed me off.

  6. Firebird says

    SA- I sent you an email, did you get it?

    Scarlett- You’re right, she’s much shorter. I guess she still seems really skinny to me, compared to the variety of real life people, but maybe that is my own taste – I prefer girls to have just a little belly rather than this concave rib thing. :-) In any case, I’m really enjoying the show, and I can’t imagine thinking that Tess would have to look like Isabel. What, aliens-who-don’t-look-like-aliens have to look like supermodels? Aha! Supermodels really are ALIENS!! /jk

    Where did Jason Behr and Nicolas Fehr end up? BTW, my gay friend that I’m watching Roswell would be one of those Max/Liz shippers – he hates Tess, practically growls every time she comes on the screen. :eyeroll: He has a huge crush on Jason Behr/Max and he’s jealous (though why he’s not jealous of Liz, I’ll never understand).

  7. S. A. Bonasi says

    Firebird, yeah, I got it. But I’m out of town at the moment with limited computer access. I’ll email you back when I get home.

  8. Gategrrl says

    Jason and Michael? The serial killers of film yore? Didn’t they go up against each other?

    ::blink:blink::

    What?

  9. SunlessNick says

    The frustrating thing about Kate is that she’ll be awesome one episode and then the next will be making me want to thwap the writers on the head with a copy of Feminism 101. - S.A. Bonsai

    Kate’s competence, and capacity to be interesting and cool, seems to increase in direct proportion to her distance from Jack and Sawyer.

    Re the birth scene… In Jack’s position, I’d trust Kate to deliver a baby over Charlie, but I’d trust both of them over just one of them; also, I’d rather the person I gave the instructions to do the delivery than have them relay the instructions for someone else to do it (with the attendant Chinese Whispers risk).

  10. Patrick says

    Aha! Supermodels really are ALIENS!!

    That was an episode of Third Rock From the Sun.

    Seriously.

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