People talk about 20 pounds like it’s nothing; from trying to lose weight to trying to gain it. Little did I know that when these seemingly arbitrary 20 pounds are concentrated on the lower torso of a teenage girl, they are no longer nothing, in fact quite the opposite. Creating the appearance of a ‘baby bump’, these 20 pounds created quite an interesting psychological experiment, in which the morals and decency of society where tested based on the candid reactions of local Ashland patrons.
In my experiment, I wore the 20 pound ‘baby bump’ to dinner with my father at a low key Chinese restaurant in Ashland. Upon walking in, I immediately noticed gawks and stares from families eating, as well as averting eyes of staff members. These looks of disgust were only amplified as my father told the host we would like to sit at the bar in order to watch the Red Sox game. I can only imagine what was going through the host’s head as I hobbled up to the bar, under-age and seemingly pregnant, with my dad.
From the fellow barstool sitters, who were not part of families, and perhaps single or lonely (as I speculated judging by their drink orders and overall appearance) I got more strange looks, but more of curiosity than judgment. Perhaps because some of them were drunk and were in the process of discerning what they were seeing, but I also got the vibe that some were questioning if I was pregnant or fat by the way my sweatshirt was situated. I began to ignore these stares too, enjoyed my food, and hobbled out the door.
This experience allowed me to experiment with the borders of what is socially acceptable in American culture, as well as live out a very real possibility of what could happen to me personally, as a teenage girl. The prop itself hurt and was very unmanageable when it came to walking/driving/sitting, making me question the very thought of having children even as an adult. I think my experiment proved that we have not progressed as a society to allow teenage pregnancy to be socially acceptable, despite the popular media coverage it is given. I think every teenage girl in our high school should try wearing this ‘belly bump’ out in public because it teaches a good lesson, and could perhaps also make someone reconsider having unsafe sex.