I have little tolerance for the “having it all” conversation — if you can even call it that. Not the issues within that framing, such as maternity leave, pregnancy discrimination and pregnancy workplace laws, for example. What’s defunct is this classist, very limited and flimsy “having it all” framework that consistently and successfully skews legitimate issues as buzzy “work life balance” issues. Transforms workplace laws into pink Cosmopolitan-ready “women’s issues” — usually upholding the plight of one privileged one percenter to dominate the dialogue surrounding parents and work. Such is problematic in that this small percentage of women are collectively being spun, usually by the press, as The Plight of Working Women. So it’s rather fitting that celebrity women, the one percent of the one percent, are all about using their red carpet baby bumps as their crowning achievement to the absurd “having it all” narrative.
The New York Times reports that red carpet events, much like the recent Met Gala, are being essentially stolen by celeb ladies in the “advanced stages of pregnancy.” Their baby bump being their most coveted accessory (seriously, the piece is written like this). Kim Kardashian is cited as the most recent example all the way back through Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, and Annette Bening. Compare these big-bellied ladies with the demurely pregnant Lucille Ball and Eva Marie Saint and point well made. We’ve come a long way, baby.
But while a Drake University professor has literally penned an essay entitled “The Baby Bump is the New Birkin,” a new cultural analysis is being presented. A baby bump isn’t just a trendy accessory (eye roll). In a rich celebrity setting, it’s the biggest lady tabloid status symbol:
The arrivals are obsessively chronicled; the “bump” a point of pride, the ultimate accessory for someone who clearly has it all.
Now, I don’t want to give Kim Kardashian and her ilk too much credit. I’m certain she’s not intentionally leaving the house in her rose-covered Givenchy dress scheming about how she can’t wait to show everyone how she has it all (well?). But in a post-Anne-Marie Slaughter baby bump obsessed world, I think The New York Times might definitely be onto something here.
Here comes me, my money, my partner, my career, and my big ass baby bump. #HavingItAll #Bitch
(photo: Jorge Rios/iPhoto/WENN.com)