St. Olaf College | News

Percy appears on the Today Show

Ben PercySt. Olaf College Writer in Residence Ben Percy spent nine weeks wearing a pregnancy simulation suit. His reward for all the time, trouble, confused stares, and back pain: an appearance on the Today Show.

“I have, from waking up in the middle of the night to accommodate my children crying and from changing thousands of diapers, learned that I’m not man enough to be a woman,” Percy says in the interview with Steve Harvey. “And this suit just underscored that.”

Percy wrote about his experience with the pregnancy suit in a story for GQ Magazine, where he lays out his reasons for undertaking this radical experiment in empathy.

“Maybe, by helping me experience the one thing unavailable to men as parents, it will be more than a costume,” Percy writes, “but a way for me to alter my point of view, deepen my empathy, help me overcome my mouth-breathing-caveman deficiencies.”

Percy also explains that, despite his best efforts at pretending to be a pregnant woman, most women were not impressed by the suit, pointing out that there is a lot more to being pregnant than putting on some extra weight.

“I was expecting to get a nice pat on the back. But women were completely fixated on the suit’s inadequacy,” Percy says on the Today Show. “Once they saw me in the suit, they were like, ‘Nice try, wuss.'”

In addition to authoring several novels and serving as a contributing editor at Esquire magazine, Percy writes for the Wall Street Journal, GQ, Time, Men’s Journal, and Outside. His new novel, Red Moon, has been listed as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2013.