Councillor’s remarks were an attempt to shame women

Editor: I have written a response to White Rock councillor David Chesney’s comments on pregnant women’s clothing choices.

As a lifetime Langley resident and the owner of businesses that focus on women’s issues, I felt it was my duty to respond to his comments:

Mr. Chesney, how sad this story was for me to hear. Once again, someone in a position of power is misusing his voice to shame women.

And in case you are wondering what all the fuss is about over your radio interview — it’s about shame.

Shame is a common response when somebody is told that who they are — or what they look like —  is bad or wrong.  It puts pressure on someone to change who they are in order to please another.

Because you made reference to pregnant women changing their appearance to suit your preferences, you, Mr. Chesney,  have shamed women.

I am unsure why I have to give you a history lesson, but in order to clarify the uproar over your insensitive and ignorant words, I will.

For many years women’s bodies have been the subject of many a decency battle:

• She should cover up her cleavage in the workplace;

• She shouldn’t breastfeed in public;

• Young girls should not wear yoga pants in schools.

Your opinion adds a new bullet point on my list:

• Pregnant women should wear clothing that does not draw attention to the fact that they are pregnant — as if pregnancy is something to be hidden; as if a pregnant belly is disagreeable to your eyes.

And then to imply that they are doing it for attention — “I get it, you’re pregnant, all right.”  Is borderline bizarre.

“Now why, why, why such a desire to push that out in front of everyone?”

Are you serious? You do understand that the baby is not being pushed out in front, right?

That is where it is growing.

I don’t see how you think it’s OK to say such hurtful things about such a special time in a woman’s life.

Unless, of course, you think that all women are just trying to dress to get attention.

I have worked closely with women, and their views on their bodies for over a decade, and I can tell you that we, as women, have a long way to go ourselves in accepting our bodies as they are, but for you to pick on our pregnant sisters is not OK.

That time in a woman’s life is sacred — they are creating a new being — and I am so sorry if their outfit choice is all you can see.  They need our support, and you choose to shame.

Mr. Chesney, you have proven yourself a sexist and as such you have no right to be in public office representing your constituency with views that aim to separate and shame.

I call for your resignation immediately and a formal apology.

Kathie Marshall,

Langley