There are certain things that are ruined for you when you are a science enthusiast◊. What, exactly, gets ruined for you varies according to your area of study/fascination, and I suppose also according to your pre-existing neuroses. Some things that occasionally get ruined for me are movie/TV plots.
Sometimes it hurts to watch because there is something about the plot that is clearly, intentionally nonsensical, but is so obviously not-thought-through that it eats at my brain, making me feel absurdly alarmed and/or disturbed. Usually this happens when Hollywood is trying to pass off something horrific as silly and whimsical.
Exhibit A: pregnant men.
This is some dark shit.
Do you know, when I was a little girl playing in the playhouse in Mrs. Davidman’s kindergarten classroom, I thought women carried babies in their stomachs. I mean, that’s pretty much what it looks like from the outside, and that’s what my child’s brain assumed was happening. In middle school, on that day in health class* where they separated the boys from the girls, I learned all about the real get-down: babies are carried in a woman’s uterus, not her stomach. This is an aspect of anatomy that only female human beings possess.
Let me reiterate that: Men – that is, male human beings – do not possess uteri**.
So, what that means, is that these fictitious men are assumedly carrying unborn children in their actual stomachs. No. No no no no NO◦. I have two major, major problems with this scenario:
As the fetus grew, this man’s stomach would become more and more distended. Have you ever held a stomach, like at a butcher shop or for a lab dissection? I have, so I’m here to tell you that stomach tissue really wasn’t built to accommodate a growing organism that reaches an average length of 35.6-50.8 cm (14-20 inches). You know what happens when your stomach bursts? “What happens is your stomach ruptures and billions of bacteria flood the surrounding area inside your body, creating a giant systemic infection that usually kills you within hours.”i Or you could die of asphyxia due to a “grossly distended stomach having protruded so far up and out of its customary terrain that the lungs [are] terminally compromised.”ii
And let’s not forget the primary function of the human stomach: using muscular contractions and enzymatic processes to break your food down into nutrients your body can use to stay alive. How much food, realistically, do you think this pregnant guy is able to cram into this abominable abdominal doom-chamber? NOT DAMN MUCH, I assure you. Let’s say the average newborn baby is 7.5 lbs. This converts to approximately 3-3.5 liters. The human stomach can accommodate this volume, but it’s about three times the typical expansion level.iii This is JUST BABY, NO FOOD. The average North American male human needs to intake about 3,000 calories each day.♦ (TL/DR: A pregnant man would die of extreme bloating or starve to death.)
Oh, and speaking of digestion, remember those enzymatic processes I mentioned earlier? Yeah, that’s where your stomach releases chemicals to break down your food into nutrient-mush. Chemicals like hydrochloric acid. If you’re like, “So what?” go fucking Google some images of skin burned by hydrochloric acid. Now picture a fetus that has been awash in the stuff for nine months. This is where nightmares come from. Also EC Comics.
Also, there’s the whole lack of vagina thing. So if the stomach hasn’t ruptured, a surgeon is going to have to open that bad boy up and remove this Hell-larva, and Pregnant Man and his loved ones had better hope he doesn’t go septic, or get MRSA, or meet any of a whole host of other catastrophic deaths that could occur in this scenario.
Equally as frightening, if not more so: who are these executives in Hollywood who know so little about the human reproductive and digestive systems, respectively? I have heard the explanation of the human reproductive process more than five times, and I wasn’t even actively pursuing that information at those times! Or, do they just assume the stupid human populace won’t notice?
People aren’t that stupid, right?
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And I seriously can’t watch Jurassic Park. I know, just…just don’t. Stop. For both our sakes.
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It happens with TV, too. I love the hell out of crime/forensics shows, but I get really worked up over the lack of fact-checking at the most basic level. (FYI, production teams: no one is going to mistake a thermos full of liquid nitrogen for a thermos of hot chocolate. Why? Because one averages a temperature of 172.5oF and the other averages a temperature of -333oFvi. Oh, and because liquid nitrogen boils into gas at room temperature, yielding about seven times more gas than liquid. That means a sealed thermos would explode from the built-up pressure SO SOME UNSUSPECTING GUY PROBABLY AIN’T TAKING A SWIG FROM IT. And if he does, his mouth and esophagus would quickly become so damaged that he sure-as-shit is not going to continue drinking.)
Science: she is a harsh mistress, but I love her.