I’ve been to the doctor, and we’re going to have a baby.
BEWITCHED (1964-1972). in S2E01 samanthas “been to the doctor” and guess what? “we’re going to have a baby!” were they trying to have a baby? was birth control and abortion even legal back then? was marital rape legal too? — are all questions that come to mind. interestingly, elizabeth montgomery’s real-life pregnancies affected the show in a way that i seriously doubt would be allowed to happen today: according to an unauthorized biography at “harpie’s bizarre” they filmed the pilot shortly after she realized she was pregnant.
after! omg. she had just gotten a pilot for a television series and her real-life husband knocked her up? really? and her subsequent two pregnancies were written into the show, and corresponded to the births of the fictional stevens children tabitha and adam. but the studio didnt have to be this nice, did they? what protections are any woman afforded at any job when inconvenient pregnancies develop whether they are wanted, unwanted or ambiguous? just thinking about it gives me the creeps.
anyway, what can i say about bewitched? this is probably my favorite show of all time, and has been since i was very small. i wished so much that i had powers like she did, and like her daughter tabitha (and her mother!) did too. in fact, i recall playing “house” with my siblings and our friend where we actually played “bewitched” and i always wanted to be tabitha. yes, just the thought of playing “house” now gives me the heebies, but whatever. bewitched, like all female-protagonist or female-super-hero type shows, wasnt feminist: it was just a nice break from the even-more-blatant male-centrism and even-worse woman-hating on every other show (and on the commercials too).
watch the episode where samantha learns she is pregnant, and the next where endora gives darrin a sympathy-pregnancy (bahaha!) below, as well as the episode in which samantha gives birth to tabitha below that.
goal is to “land a man”. yes. the neighbor women, gladys kravitz, is married to a man who treats her like she is the most disgusting person in the world, but they live in a nice neighborhood (the stevenses’!) so i guess shes not supposed to mind? and samantha herself gives up an extremely wonderful, literally magical life with her mostly-female relatives, particularly her cousin and mother (and numerous aunts) to settle down with some dood, who literally, LITERALLY cannot give her the kind of life she wouldve had, if she had stayed behind. in fact, just being with him requires (he demands it) that she give up all her power. is your blood curdling yet? mine is. ugh. and she does this happily, willingly, because she wants to be with him, and to please him, no matter what. she does use some of her power on the sly of course, but very much against his wishes: luckily for her i suppose, he forgives her, but they are always in a constant state of haiving to “make up” over these little spats. does anyone suppose they *didnt* have make-up sex back then? im guessing they did. and that her 2 children are evidence of that. how sexxxay!
normalizing reproductive stress and pain. yes. she has to “go to the doctor” to find out if shes pregnant, even though shes a witch? really? medicalization of pregnancy, even wanted pregnancy, is stressful. and when she has the baby, they take it away from her after only a few minutes. its horrifying. and when she suspects shes pregnant she doesnt tell darrin until she was sure because she didnt want to worry him. cause worrying about pregnancy is for the laydeez!
pathologizing menstruation. [none that im aware of?]
pathologizing older women and menopause/fetishizing female youth. yes. evil mother-in-law meme. times 1000. and endora is awesome. i especially like how she can never “remember” darrins name. which is exactly how important he is in the grand scheme of things, considering that samantha is immortal. isnt she?
normalizing simulated/exaggerated female pleasure from PIV and PIV-centric sex. yes. samantha’s free-spirtited identical cousin serena (also played by elizbeth montgomery — of course!) is man-crazy, and even flirts and sexually harasses some of the more uptight men, like darrins boss. female sexual aggression in the context of PIV implies an extreme payout in terms of female sexual pleasure which is unrealistic, considering how dangerous and stressful it is, and the fact that its not even most womens preferred sex act.
rape and rape culture. yes. high-heeled shoes; alcohol and drugs; darrin and the other advertising men are inappropriate with their female secretaries; darrin once told one that her “dress was too tight” when he was bewitched into telling the truth. king henry sexually harassed sam when she went back in time (dont ask!) by chasing her around a table lasciviously; samantha has had to be “clever” and polite (and use her magic) in getting rid of men threatening her and her children; sam has to be clever to avoid darrins anger.