19 December 2007

J.Lo goes underground from fear of 'fat'

Apparently, J.Lo is 'freaking out' over her pregnancy weight gain. Due to give birth in early spring, a 'source' says:

"She is huge and freaking out. Her face has become really puffy from retaining a lot of water."
So worried about losing her looks, the actress/singer has decided to put her career on hold and 'do a Victoria Beckham', hiding out at home until the baby is born. Beckham, as you may know, is notorious for having caesars at 8 months to stem weight gain and to give herself more time to 'bounce back'.

When I read this, I realised something. When was the last time we heard about or saw pictures of Nicole Richie, Halle Berry or Christina Aguilera*, all of whom are due to give birth in the near future?

Whereas hundreds of news items were devoted to the pregnancies of these women (including J.Lo) for many weeks, as each woman waddles closer to her due date, her appearances in public becoming increasingly few and far between. Why?

As seemingly comfortable we are with the visibly pregnant belly and as marketable as pregnancy is for a number of celebrities, the appearance of a 'monstrous' pregnant stomach is still anathema to the heterosexual appeal these women typically embody when they are not pregnant. Despite a culture that loves a good pregnancy or celebrity wedding story, the 8-9 months pregnant celeb is not fodder for 'sexy' cover photos. As in the feminist philosophical tradition, the heavily pregnant woman is abject, swollen, 'leaky', monstrous, and even 'grotesque' as she transitions into motherhood.

As Christina (we're clearly on a first name basis by now) and Halle Berry were happy to be photographed with a cute little protuberance, a heavily pregnant belly is more inconvenient than irresistible. It is no wonder that J.Lo is afraid of monstrousity given her career as a Latina icon with an amazing arse; now she is allegedly pregnant with twins (double the weight gain in half the time). Pregnancy is a time when the taut, tight idealised feminine body is challenged; many of these celebrity women are surely anxious about having/being a body that is seemingly uncontrollable and 'chaotic'. Cultural standards of female beauty are particularly daunting for any woman that is not pregnant; now we know that these same standards apply to pregnant women and are even more vociferously enforced post-baby.

*obviously Christina is on the cover of Marie Claire this month, but the photo shoot was done months ago when her body was more contained.

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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.