Where Do Babies Come from?

     Even though we are not so repressed as we were thirty years ago, the issue of censorship is just as prevalent. Many of the issues regarding censorship are the same are the same ones that were debated just a few generations ago, and rightfully so: negative representations of sex and glorification of violence take their toll on the developing morals of society's youth. However, there are many other facets of censorship that have been long since abandoned. One specific restriction comes to mind: that women could not be shown as being pregnant, which meant that a swelled belly could not be shown. This restriction came into play in the film Wuthering Heights (1939, dir. William Wyler), and even to some extent in the 1847 original novel, by Emily Brontė, of the same title.

     In the novel Wuthering Heights it was quite easy for even a keen-eyed reader to miss the sentence that implied Cathy's pregnant status. I remember having to reread twenty pages, because I did not know where that child had come from. At the time I just thought it was an author's device to maintain a little ambiguity, but later I was to find out that it was censorship.

     In the movie Wuthering Heights, Cathy (Merle Oberon) was as slim as a pole. There was no bulge under the covers of her deathbed. At the time this movie was made, and many years after the restriction was strictly enforced.

     An abundance of four letter words or tasteless sex is one thing but a natural state necessary for the propagation of our species: this is absurd. There is nothing vulgar or tasteless about a growing fetus inside of a mother. Where were babies supposed to come from?--the stork?--the cabbage patch? I plan on looking into the origins of this aversion to pregnancy. I thank God that this restriction has been discarded, and I can only hope that it will never be implemented again.

Maggie Dale

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