When a starlet gains a few extra pounds or wears a loose-fitting outfit we shouldn’t wonder who “knocked her up.”
If a celebrity is pregnant we shouldn’t question her filial (or non-filial) loyalty to her partner nor support the accusatory press landslide that ensues if she does not immediately identify who has inseminated her.
A female celebrity is open to a tirade of attacks from the press if she appears to be bloated or have gained weight, in addition to the attention from the paparazzi she already experiences on a daily basis.
For the next nine months, the press will ruthlessly stalk her and observe her body. Once pregnancy is confirmed, the press begins to participate in twenty-four hour surveillance of the woman, from her doctor visits, to her contemplation about the babies name and even to the most minuscule details of her daily life, her meal plans.
The obsession does not stop with the woman herself; the press proceeds to discuss when the baby was conceived and with whom. The disturbing distrust towards any statements that the mother makes reflects how society attempts to control women’s sexuality. Press rakes over the most insignificant posts on social media sites trying to come up with some dirt that would suggest who the father is or is not. After essentially slut-shaming the mother, the press wonders about the gender of the baby, foreshadowing the intense probing into the baby’s personal life beginning when the fetus is in utero.
After a handful of fake birth scares, the media will be relieved to have confirmation of the baby’s birth and everyone will rush in for the profitable “first” baby photo.
In the case of Angelina and Brad Pitt, their baby photo sold for over 11 million dollars.
Perhaps the most disturbing example that comes to mind is the incident that occurred during the birth of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s child—Blue Ivy. When news sources claimed that Beyoncé had paid to close the hospital in order to be granted sole access to the maternity ward, both Beyoncé and Jay Z received intense criticism. We should wonder why a person would need to go to such an extent to give birth in private. Why should a woman need to give a fake name to avoid the paparazzi bombarding her while she delivers her first child?
Once the baby’s birth has been exploited, the limelight switches back to the woman’s “post-pregnancy body,” beginning the continual stream of body shaming and objectification. Diet, exercise and weight-loss pills are rampant, and the rumors about how quickly or unsuccessfully stars lose weight permeate the social media.
The press investigates changes of lifestyles, critiquing bodily alterations resulting from pregnancy. The body is scrutinized for stretch marks, body fat and changes in physique that naturally result from giving birth. Many celebrity women and their families speak up against the press but to no avail. Their pleas against having their bodies violated by the voyeuristic eye of the press fall on deaf ears, which ironically, are engulfed and recycled into the media again.
We need to respect women enough to leave their reproductive choices to the only person that should have any authority or control, THE WOMAN HERSELF.