29 June 2007

Drea de Matteo: 'I Feel Fat, but I Feel Great'

Actress Drea de Matteo, the 'sexy' Soprano's star, is four months pregnant and apparently all she can say about it is how 'fat' she feels. I find this incredibly interesting because I would say the majority of the women in my study have referred to themselves as 'fat' and not pregnant more than once in the course of our interviews. In fact, in this short blurb from the People website she refers to the size of her body three times in only 6 paragraphs, and two of those mentions use the word 'fat'.

On her pregnancy:
"I feel great. I just feel fat, but I feel great."

On her body shape:
"I feel like I'm carrying the baby in my [behind], it's so big."

On the gender of the baby:
"We don't know what we're having yet. But I use 'she,' because I'm getting so fat, I think it's a girl!"

And one other thing, I decided to indulge my incessant craving for celebrity gossip by buying the latest NW the other day. I was particularly intrigued by the cover which caught my attention as it shouted 'Pregnant Stars In Crisis' featuring:

Kate Hudson: alone and pregnant

Nicole Ritchie: pregnant and on her way to the slammer

Salma Hayek: 'fat' and pregnant

Katie Holmes is also featured on the cover but is apparently not suffering from a body 'crisis' and is instead praised for her amazing post baby body. This NW cover is such a good example of the ways in which the celebrity body becomes the receptacle of cultural anxieties surrounding discourses of body size, marriage and 'good' motherhood. Also, notable and perhaps unsurprising is that the bodies on display are women's bodies; these are represented as being outside the boundaries of 'normal' and transgressive.

Whereas Hayek, Hudson and Ritchie are subject to ridicule, Katie Holmes is featured as a icon to admire (and this has not always been the case. Remember when Holmes was derided for being too 'fat' after her pregnancy?). On one hand the featured celebrities are uncomfortably exposed (their relationships, their bodies, their vulnerabilities) and on the other hand the unparalleled visibility provided to us as readers feeds our hunger to see the most popular celebrities teetering on ambiguous territory. Moreover, rather than seeing celebrities like they come from another planet, tabloids like NW serve up the failings of Hollywood's A-list like a three course meal full of melodrama replete with humiliating photos in an unlicensed display of humanity.

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The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.