I guess I was pretty lucky as a preggers lady: Strangers groping my belly were never a problem. In fact, I don't think a single person I didn't know ever attempted to touch my bump without asking; "acquaintances" who thought, mistakenly, that they knew me well enough to invade my personal space were more of an annoyance. Not every mom-to-be is quite so lucky, however -- particularly those in Pennsylvania, where a law was just passed banning strangers from touching pregnant women's bellies. Whoa! What the heck is going on in Pennsylvania, exactly, to necessitate the passing of such a law? Are hordes of bandit belly-gropers roaming the streets, terrorizing expectant moms??
More from The Stir: Are Pregnant Bellies Public Domain?
Not exactly, as it turns out: The law was inspired by one case involving harrassment charges against a man accused of unwanted tummy-touching. But the legislation brings up an interesting point ... why do people think it's perfectly fine to just walk right up to a woman they've never met before and rub her stomach as if a genie might pop out? And, for that matter, why do people think it's perfectly fine to just walk right up to someone they sort of know casually and rub her stomach as if a genie might pop out?
I actually don't think people mean any harm when they commit this breach of etiquette; I think it's more of a case of people liking babies and everything to do with babies and wanting to experience the magic (because it truly is magical) of feeling a tiny person move around inside another person. Of course, that doesn't mean it's not profoundly irritating and even mildly creepy when you're the target of this unwanted, er, affection, for lack of a better word.
I don't know; it's been over 8 years since I've had to deal with this type of unwelcome advance and, as I said, strangers weren't really an issue for me. But I still have to wonder whether a law like this is really going to be useful.
Do you think a law banning the groping of pregnant women's bellies will make a difference for moms-to-be?
Image via Chelly Cruz/Flickr