It seems like lately there’s been a ton of celebrity pregnancy announcements — a celebrity baby boom if you will. Almost every day my phone lights up with a notification exuberantly pronouncing yet another expectant mother among the famous. This overreporting of every celebrity pregnancy begs the question, why do we care?
In the last week, news has broken of several very prominent celebrity pregnancies. Gigi Hadid, Katherine Schwarzenegger, and Lea Michele have all recently announced that they’re expecting babies. The news received much fanfare and celebration by fans and Hollywood gossip sources alike.
It’s not just these ladies that have this kind of celebration associated with their pregnancies. Any time someone even remotely associated with fame gets pregnant, some corner of the internet manages to hear about it. Part of this is certainly due to the fact that everybody loves a baby. It’s essential for the survival of the species.
I don’t mean to sound cynical. Of course, a happy mother having a baby is a great thing to celebrate, but these are strangers. We experience their joy as our own because we feel entitled to their lives. Lives that we aren’t necessarily entitled to just because they’re famous.
It’s why Kylie Jenner chose to keep her pregnancy secret from her fans until after her daughter was born. She comes from one of the most-watched and obsessed over families in the world. Paparazzi are constantly photographing the family and they are under scrutiny for every post and every move they make. Jenner removed her pregnancy from that equation for the sake of her own well-being and that of her child. I’m surprised more celebrity mothers don’t choose Jenner’s route.
Fictional Pregnancies Are No Exception
Commenters on Instagram are constantly asking famous women who aren’t pregnant if they’re expecting when that photograph shows even the slightest hint of a potential bump. Fans seem to think that if a famous woman isn’t flaunting a perfect body, as usual, it must mean pregnancy.
This immediate leap to pregnancy, and the obsession over it once a woman confirms the news, also comes from the idea that women are meant to be mothers. Our society celebrates, maybe overly so, women doing what they are supposedly biologically built to do. We expect women in the public eye to be mothers, and when they fulfill that role, we go wild over it. When they don’t, it’s even worse.
Jennifer Aniston is the perfect example. She does not have children, for whatever reason that might be (all of which are valid). That hasn’t stopped the media and fans from constantly speculating that she’s pregnant or analyzing the various reasons why she hasn’t had any children.
This undying fascination with what every famous uterus is doing is not only a huge overstep into something intensely personal, it’s also sexist. This infatuation makes clear how society feels about how women are supposed to live and what our bodies are for.