Paternity Leaves, Freezing Eggs and Surrogacy Issues: A Parenting Magazine in South Africa

Here’s another vacation photo from my recent trip to South Africa (for others, scroll to see recent posts). While stopping at a gas station on the way from Joburg to Madikwe (where we went for safari), I spotted this parenting magazine at the checkout. Notice the headlines:

“DAD: ARE YOU CHEATED OUT OF PATERNITY LEAVE?”

“FREEZE YOUR BEST EGGS NOW! Your clock is ticking.”

“SURROGACY: When a black mom carries a white baby.”

“Breast feeding in public: why all the stigma?”

Local magazines and newspapers are one way to pick up – at least a little – on local culture and, in this case, on issues that are perhaps of interest or relevance to South African parents. I was a bit horrified with the dire warning to women to freeze their “best eggs now!” and wondered what Jezebel.com would make of this headline. On the other hand, raising issues of dad’s rights (in terms of paternity leave) is on the progressive side. And then there are issues of race, which came up often and in many ways during our trip to South Africa. For example, we met a taxi driver who was from Soweto and was in his mid-50s, so had experienced some of the effects of apartheid in a township that had experienced riots, shootings, deaths, etc. And then we met some white people who spoke rather negatively about “colored people.” A 24-year old white man we met told us a story about his black friend who was dating a white woman and the kinds of comments they were subjected to, even quite recently. For better or worse, the South Africans spoke more openly – and frequently – about race than most Americans we know, even though race and its intersections with gender and sexuality are important in US culture, too.

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About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.