Why is a bit of baby swapping too far?

Have you seen it? Have you heard? She swapped the dead baby for an alive one! Shocking isn’t it?

The answer to the final question is no. This is happening in Eastenders for gods sake, not My Family or Americas Next Top Model. The day a lady has a normal happy baby in Eastenders is the day the show is cancelled. To get a bit more of an idea of how grim Walford is lets have a look see at two other characters and what they have done over this seasonal period:

  • Stacey was raped, killed said rapist, let her husband die with the world thinking he was the killer. Stacey then tried to kill herself but gave up, hopped on a plane and ran away from the police.
  • Janine decided that poisoning her husband was a perfectly acceptable course of action. If that wasn’t enough she embarked on some self mutilation to try and frame poor Stacey.

A light bit of baby swapping doesn’t seem that bad in comparison, especially when we know that Kat will get the rightful heir to the Slater/Moon crown back at some point. So what is it that has got the world into such a tizz? why was Lorraine Kelly telling me this morning that ‘Eastenders has crossed the line’?

It’s all about representation.

Representation is an ugly two headed beast. On one hand it’s great, writers have to consider minority groups and how they are represented. This can lead to fantastic well rounded characters which can change the publics perception of certain groups of people. On the other it can be wielded like a huge rusty sword that loud mouthed individuals can swing from their high horse. This sadly feels like one of those times.

A miscarriage, still birth or pretty much anything that leads to dead babies is clearly horrendous. But those that are yelling that the current baby swapping storyline is misrepresenting those that have suffered a miscarriage are missing one crucial thing - context. We aren’t talking about a perfectly normal woman who wants to play swappsies. She has suffered a lot of baby trauma involving parental rape, children coming back from the dead to then die five minutes later, miscarriage and pretty much every one she knows getting pregnant by her partner at the time. If you can find me one person who had been through all of this (and more, it’s Eastenders after all) who wouldn’t have gone a little loopy at yet more trauma I will eat my hat. If you can find me a whole group of people that would behave differently I will happily join on the misrepresentation bandwagon. But as it stand I think that a chill pill needs to be taken and this storyline to be appreciated for what it is; a fine bit of over the top drama which will be the perfect farewell to a rather successful character.

I would love to know your thoughts - please leave them in the comments section.