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Tina Fey’s SNL Skit on Natural, Home Birth: Should We Be Offended or Can We Laugh?

Posted May 09 2011 12:00am
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Lindsay Beyerstein writes on big think :

I had high hopes for Tina Fey’s Saturday Night Live send up of natural childbirth. Fey is very talented and natural childbirth subculture is ripe for parody, in part because some of its proponents take themselves so very seriously while being so cavalier about the evidence.

So, I was disappointed that the sketch was mostly an exercise in meanspirited hippie punching…
To underscore the miracles of homebirth, the instructor slides an implausibly large video tape into a VCR. (A nice sight gag, given the topic of the sketch.)

The tape rolls. The video features “Victor” and “Laylani” a couple giving birth in their yurt. Basically the video segment is a series jokes about how natural childbirth is for dirty hippies who don’t shave their pubic hair. (Admittedly, a clever mirkin/tutu placates the censors and makes for a decent sight gag.)

The rest of the sketch alternates between the subjects of the video being gross, alien, and crunchy (not to mention French Canadian) and the “normal” couples in the birthing class being disgusted. As Victor and Laylani make out in a prelude to orgasmic birth, Fey’s character exclaims, “Oh my god, that’s the dirtiest thing I’ve ever seen! And I’m talking about the bottoms of her feet!” By the end of the sketch, the sheer grossout factor has turned Fey’s character against natural birth…

Fey clearly went for the easy laughs; but at this point, dirty hippie jokes are as dated as patchouli.

Both of my children were born at home in a natural birth attended by qualified midwives.  Do I take offense at Tina Fey’s skit?  No.  I personally think it is more of a parody of childbirth videos and classes than home birth per se. I’ve seen some pretty wacky birthing videos, and I never had the patience to attend a childbirth class.

Does this skit do anything to harm the movement towards more natural childbirth?  I think not.  Saturday Night Live has always been about making fun of current trends and events. Natural childbirth is such a trend.  This is a good thing, and it certainly isn’t limited to hippies living in yurts.

Fey’s skit made me laugh. I am not offended.

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