People are still chiming in about Beyonce‘s big baby news and while the performer’s announcement may have broken Twitter records, her decision to unveil her pregnancy in such a public way is spurring even more conversations about how female celebrities respond to pregnancy. Slate recently discussed Beyonce’s announcement in relation to many other celebrities including Jennifer Aniston, and how being a pregnant woman instantly gives the press permission to examine their bodies.
Dana Stevens commented that the voyeurism our culture secretes when it comes to pregnant celebrities is a “little bit misogynistic and creepy.” She cites both magazine covers in which actresses strip down to reveal their pregnant bellies, as well as scrutinized paparazzi images, when describing how sick the media obsession can be when pregnancy is a factor.
Of course, as the critics point out, pregnancy was not always celebrated in the tabloids; the presence of visibly pregnant women on the covers of magazines is still relatively new in the history of our media. But somewhere between pregnancy becoming “celebrated” or rather accepted as a part of a public woman’s life, actresses again have become reduced to their bodies– or their “baby bumps.”
The critics expertly use Jennifer Aniston as an example, as regardless of the quality of her movies, her entire career has now been reduced to a race-to-get pregnant narrative.
Stephen Metcalf made this resonating observation when deciphering how pregnancy may impact a woman’s acting or singing career:
“The last thing that you can do to humanize yourself when you’ve been turned into a human press release is to procreate in public.”
Somebody put that on a bumper sticker.