Does Beyonce have a surrogate? The footage of Beyonce‘s not true to pregnancy belly folding over in her dress has done more than shock fans and the press. If the performer has decided on a surrogacy route to motherhood, her decision to falsely portray a pregnancy says just as much about how our culture treats women who choose surrogates as it does about her personal choices.

Women who decide on surrogacy are often depicted as either hopelessly barren who will stop at nothing to hold a baby of their biological making or narcissistic gym bunnies who won’t even entertain the thought of carrying a baby out of vanity. These polarizing stereotypes seek to define motherhood within very narrow margins, alienating the experiences of many and the choices that women are entitled to make about their own bodies and lives. Reserving the experience of an “authentic motherhood” only for those who have chosen a traditional approach to parenthood is an antagonism on women and the increasing opportunities they have to control how they want a family — if at all.

Not all women who want to be mothers desire to carry children — and for an entire host of reasons. Whether you’re terrified of childbirth, have medical reasons, don’t want to take a professional hit to your career, or are simply uninterested in pregnancy — surrogacy is an option for women to mother that should hold no prerequisite. But it seems as though those who do opt for that road are often subjected to the hierarchy of motherhood or depicted as less of a mother for deciding against pregnancy.

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Immediately the questions swirl from speculation about fertility to perhaps an extreme fixation on weight or appearance. Some women obviously do choose surrogacy for those reasons, but instantaneously chalking up the decision to the aforementioned circumstances ignores that surrogacy is a choice for women to make regardless of necessity. Women don’t need to be policed regarding how they want to have children, but any mother will tell you that they most often are.

The public should not take issue with Beyonce’s decision to choose a surrogate, should that ultimately be the case. But we should take issue with her hypothetical compliance in stigmatizing women who do, specifically by masquerading with a faux belly.

(photo: WENN)