The Offense of Having Babies: How a Feel-good NBA Video Revealed Cultural Revulsion of Childbearing
The Toronto Raptors attempted to celebrate Women’s History Month on March 1st, with a feel-good video on social media of players answering the question, “Why do women run the world?” The question is a nod to Beyonce’s popular song “Run The World (Girls).” It backfired.
Several players highlighted the capacity of women to bear children. One player said, “Women are cool because they can have babies.” Another player remarked, “They are the only ones that can procreate.” The Raptors’ 23-year-old center from Nigeria, Precious Achiuwa, added, “They birth everybody.” These answers were not given maliciously or mockingly. They were genuine. Generations before them would have answered the same and people would have clapped in approval. For most people still living in the Land of Sanity, celebrating women for having children is not an insult, but an honor.
But for those who left the Land of Sanity, and moved to Crazy Town, these answers were inexcusable. The video received ferocious backlash. The public has decided it is now unacceptable to celebrate women for their ability to bear children. Whether it’s because it violates the false narrative that “men” can have children or because it perpetuates the “oppressive” expectation that women should give up their independence or bodily autonomy to carry a child, many in our culture do not want this attribute of womanhood honored and celebrated. Most negative opinions toward the video accused those who made the comments regarding the ability of women to give birth, as erasing trans-women and diminishing cis-women.The Raptors organization quickly issued an apology in response to the triggered mob by stating, “We’re an organization that prides itself on doing the right thing when it comes to inclusion and representation, and we made a mistake [Tuesday].” They continued, “Our sincerest apologies to our players, our staff and our fans — we’ll work to do better today and every day after.”
The culture has reached new lows in its hatred for what is good, beautiful, and true. To belittle the glory of childbearing and make it a cause for offense showcases how far downstream we are from God’s design.
God designed women with the specific biological function and capacity to bear children. This is unique to them. Men cannot have children. It does not matter that a biological woman identifies as a man. It does not change the reality that only a biological woman can have children. This does not mean that every biological woman will have children. Some are not able to because of medical reasons. In a fallen world, things that should be do not always happen. But this does not change the teleological function of the female body.
The Lord gave men and women the command to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). They were instructed to take dominion over the earth and fill it (Genesis 1:26). This cultural mandate is one of the predominant reasons that God designed us and put us on the earth. Humans are image-bearers that reflect the glory of God back to creation (Genesis 1:27). Men and women play specific roles in this great purpose.
Our society desperately needs to recover the honor of childbearing. It should not be controversial to celebrate that women have children. This honors their God-given design. Are women more than baby makers? Of course. But this should not lessen the distinct glory that belongs to them for this capacity. Childbearing by women is not an accident; it is a design for women by the Creator of the universe.
In Genesis 3:20, Adam names Eve “Ḥawwāh, which means “living one” or “source of life.” It says that Adam named her this because “she was mother of all living.” Eve did not appear offended by this descriptor. No theologians throughout Jewish or Christian history have suggested offense at Adam’s naming of Eve based on her unique role and function to have children. Why is this? Until recently, the capacity to have children was considered a praiseworthy attribute of women. That is why the Toronto Raptors’ players answered as they did. They were heaping honor on women for this incredible role they play. They were praising the unique glory due to women for this function they alone possess.
It is not surprising that a culture growing in hatred toward women and children minimizes the glory associated with childbearing. Babies are only called babies when they are wanted, and carrying children is only celebrated when “men are capable” is being defended. This deserves an apology.
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