Hilary Duff Announces Pregnancy, Gets Dropped From Movie. What Did You Think Would Happen?

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Let me begin this post by saying that I am a mother and a feminist. When I announced my pregnancy to my former employer, he told me he was thinking of cutting back my hours. In fairness, the company was going through a major transition and people were being “let go” left, right and center. Still, his timing was impeccable (it made me feel like shit). Anyway, I share this story because I believe that women have a right to reproduce while maintaining their position at work – or at least of having that option.

Such is not the case with Hilary Duff, who last week announced her pregnancy to the world. She then announced it to the bigwigs behind The Story Of Bonnie and Clyde remake, scheduled to shoot in the fall, and guess what happened? Duff, who was set to play the role of Bonnie Parker, got dropped from the film. “The split was amicable,” a source tells TMZ. “Hilary won’t be available until next June. If we could wait we would.”

My initial reaction was disgust. I thought, How could this poor woman get canned simply for choosing to have a child – and where’s the giant uproar here? Around 90 seconds later, I started to think, Wait a minute. The studio would really only have two choices if they kept Duff on board: halt production of the film, which would no doubt have huge financial repercussions and be a logistical nightmare, or have a pregnant Duff carry on with the role (and, let’s face it, not so sexy having a prego woman out on a bank-robbing spree).

So all day I’ve been having one of those “How can I call myself a feminist when I totally ‘get’ why Duff was dumped” dilemmas. As a colleague so rightly pointed out, this just sets a bad precedent. And I agree. But I still get it. Does this make me two-faced?



  1. Jenni

    August 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    It makes perfect sense for the studio to drop her. And they aren’t penalizing her; she chose to have a baby, and in her profession her body is her marketing device. It would be the same if a model chose to get pregnant and wanted to walk in a show 8 months later. It wouldn’t work!

  2. Jen

    August 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    I think there is a major difference here, though. Someone who works as a lawyer or a doctor or a banker or whatever other profession is not going to be negatively impacting their work based on their pregnancy. On the other hand, it is imperative that actors maintain a certain look while filming. Studios hire people just to watch their films and point out problems with continuity, yet keeping a pregnant Duff on in the role could mean that Bonnie in the beginning of the movie looks 5 months pregnant, in the middle she’s flat as a board and in the end she’s really popped. And yes, there are some women who don’t look pregnant at all during their pregnancies (I was initially escorted to the NICU 2 weeks after my due date since I only looked about 5 months at the time), but there is literally no way for them to know how it will play out beforehand.

    In short, I don’t think this is a feminist issue so much as it is one of common sense. If the Chris Evans had signed on to play Captain America and had then gone on a drinking binge or decided he didn’t feel like going to the gym anymore or injured himself in some way that prevented him from having a certain look he would have been replaced. That’s just the way it is and it is an open and clear part of the job for men and women alike.

  3. Pix

    August 22, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Well, I’m not going to a whole lot since I wrote a reply earlier that seems to have disappeared into cyberspace.

    But I agree completely with the other commenters. This is NOT a feminist issue. Not everything comes down to some sort of feminist issue.

    This is absolutely a common sense decision on the part of the studio and I can’t imagine that Hillary was surprised by the decision. Her physical image is a huge part of her job. She knows that and decided to have a baby. Sure, it would have been nice for her if they could postpone production, but they can’t. There will be plenty more movies for her in the future and my guess is that the rest of the world is making a bigger deal about it than she is. (Though if anyone has any word of her response to the decision, that would be interesting to hear about.)

  4. anoushka

    August 23, 2011 at 7:10 am

    so being a feminist = getting your own way all the time?

    no it doesn’t make you two-faced.

  5. Lindsey

    August 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    I actually got into a fight online with someone over this lol I think your opinion is completely reasonable and am glad the comments have agreed. This isn’t a feminist issue–in fact, if anything, people arguing she shouldn’t be dropped from the film are coming dangerously close to anti-choice rhetoric, as they’re saying that pregnancy should be some special class, that a pregnancy is more important than any other physical/medical condition, etc. If she’d done something and broken her arm, they wouldn’t necessarily be able to use her, either. It’s her choice to keep the pregnancy and she knows what industry she’s in, so she knew this could happen. Plus, who knows what sort of pregnancy she’ll have? If she has a really awful one, she wouldn’t even want to be shooting a film during it, anyway.

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