Mommie Dearest: Focusing On Celeb Pregnancies Only Raises The Bar Higher For Other Mothers
I’m not sure if you all heard about it or not, but Kim Kardashian is pregnant. I’ll wait a moment for the shock to sink in.
We can now look forward to six more months of paparazzi falling all over themselves for the newest baby bump shots, interviews with Kim and Kanye’s potential nannies, photoshoots of their nurseries, and “in depth” articles that pontificate on everything from what Kris Jenner will go by (something tells me she doesn’t dig “Granny”) to whether Kanye will cut the cord, to dissecting which potential weight loss programs Kim will utilize/shill to get back into her “pre-baby bod.”
And I can tell you already, I’m over it.
My feelings on celebs and their pregnancies being made into tabloid fodder for us to consume are no secret. I already ranted about Kate Middleton’s pregnancy and my wish that she would be left alone throughout it. My disdain for making a spectacle over celebrity pregnancies and childbirth are twofold: one, I dislike the fact that it is somehow acceptable to be so voyeuristic about the lives of people we don’t really know. No matter how many episodes of “Friends” you may have watched on repeat, you don’t actually know Jennifer Aniston well enough to focus that intently on the contents of her uterus. And, two, the fascination and exploitation of most of these manufactured moments in celebrity pregnancy and motherhood feeds into the notion of what “good mothering” is all about, which makes the rest of us moms feel like we can’t quite measure up to some mythical ideal.
I won’t lie. I understand the fascination with celebrity lives to a certain extent. I even watched a few episodes of “Cribs” back in the day. I get it. But somehow we’ve moved past that to a point where we feel entitled to every single detail of celebrities’ lives. It isn’t enough to see their cars and homes, now we need to see inside their uteruses as well. We want to know all about their (non-alcoholic) champagne wishes and (mercury-free) caviar dreams.
To be fair, many “celebs” have some culpability in this voyeur’s paradise culture as well. With all the reality shows (ahem Kardashians ahem), we’re basically having their daily lives shoved down our throats whether we want it or not. The celebs that open themselves up — whether via a reality show or by actually organizing photo shoots and interviews — compound the problem by being a part of it. The more they give, the more the public feels entitled to.
The flip side to all of this is that the excess focus on celebrity pregnancy and motherhood only serves to raise the bar higher for every other mother, who doesn’t have access to round-the-clock nannies, personal trainers, chefs, and the finances to buy eight million baby gadgets that nobody needs anyway.
We already live in a culture that promotes a completely out of touch myth as the epitome of good mothering. This fabrication, which the majority of women can’t and don’t live up to, is paraded within the pages of weekly tabloids. According to these magazines, we need to know what the “right” type of furniture is to decorate our nurseries, what the must-have (yet completely out of most people’s price ranges) baby shower gifts are, and the “it” brands when it comes to strollers.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, anytime a celeb steps outside the trumped-up norm, she’s seen as strange or controversial, despite how normalized many of these behaviors may be outside Hollywood. Using midwives, doulas, or even having a homebirth is seen as either trendy or bizarre, depending on the publication. Remeber when January Jones was deemed a “Mad Mom” for revealing that she ingested capsules containing her placenta after giving birth?
Basically, it’s already pretty darn challenging being a mother. Do we really need to one more layer to it? The added focus on which celeb is pregnant, how fast they can lose the baby weight, and whether or not they’re a good/weird/fun parent isn’t helping anyone. Odds are the scrutiny isn’t helping the celebrity mothers, and it’s certainly not helpful in a culture that is already heaping mounds of pressure on the average mom.
Avital Norman Nathman blogs at The Mamafesto.
[Photo: Splash News]