Your Source for Feminist Discourse

The Problem with Belly Watching

Let’s set the record straight: I have just as much of a celeb-centered mind as the next person. The Kardashians are my guilty pleasure, and you know I am watching Beyoncé’s every move. For me, it’s about their fashion choices, but for others, it may be something else; to each their own. But there is a difference between admiring and obsessing, and there is a fine line between what is okay and what is not.

The main issue I’m tackling today: celebrity pregnancies. Not so much the actual pregnancies, but speculation of them.

Skim through a magazine or tabloid on the newsstand and you’ll surely come across headlines screaming “Amal Clooney Hides Her Baby Bump with Flowy Dress” or “Jennifer Aniston Spotted Turning Away Alcohol — Looks Like She’s Expecting!” We are watching (and judging) these celebrities’ every move and and equating their worth to whether or not they choose to reproduce.

Those who identify as women, nonbinary, bigender, agender, or basically any individual who has a vagina, should be able to do, eat, or wear whatever they want without others making assumptions. Here are just a few things that that list includes: abstaining from alcohol, wearing over-sized clothing, not eating sushi, or eating a large meal.

Criticizing and scrutinizing the bodies of these celebrities is a sexist and demeaning act that isn’t afforded to our anatomically different counterparts. It is often forgotten that the sexual partner plays a part in pregnancy too, yet they get to stroll around town without anyone pointing fingers at them. In addition, bodies are constantly changing, and it is quite cruel to relate a person’s weight gain, celebrity or not, to a pregnancy. 

There are some who might try to argue that being a celebrity automatically entails being in the spotlight, therefore everyone has the right to know the details of a celeb’s life. But I strongly disagree. Being an actor, a dancer, or a musician is a profession, just like being a teacher or a police officer. People who choose to enter these professions are often doing so because they are passionate about it, not for the fame. Just because someone wants to be an actor, that doesn’t mean they automatically lose their right to privacy.

When it comes to being pregnant, there is no obligation to announce the pregnancy publicly. Some may decide to wait to ensure the pregnancy persists, some may be looking into an abortion, some may have recently had a miscarriage, and others may just feel the need to keep it to themselves.

On another note, we shouldn’t automatically expect an individual of child-bearing age to conceive either. Many individuals don’t want kids, for whatever reason, and that is completely okay. The worth of those with a vagina should not be directly tied to whether or not they have kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all about celebrating pregnancies when they are official. You’d better believe I was shouting from the rooftops of JMU when Beyoncé announced her pregnancy, and I was ecstatic to hear that Amal Clooney is officially expecting twins. Pregnancy is a beautiful process that should be celebrated, but only when (and if) that person is ready to celebrate it with others.

Featured Image Source: Jake Johnson, Flickr

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