One of my close family members works for a major gossip rag. It’s a really good job and he is an amazing writer and reporter. Recently, I was lamenting to him how the press primarily reports gossipy bits on possible baby bumps over actual important things like the oncoming crisis in obstetrical care or practices that are currently hurting moms and babies (Alright, I know a story like that is boring compared to who Kanye’s baby mama is!). In response to how the industry sees a possible story, my family member said this: “Everyone is pregnant until proven not.”
Wow. If you’re celebrity, when it comes to being pregnant, you’re guilty until proven innocent. That’s egg-austing.
Since there is still a lot of money in this, especially for an exclusive, the industry works like this: there are spies everywhere-and I mean everywhere. The media is on a constant lookout for a PMS day of water retention that MAY be a baby bump.
I witnessed this first hand when a while back I took my 14 year old to the Katy Perry Concert at Madison Square Garden. Ms Perry, then married to that British guy, mentioned in her accolades of NYC that NYC pizza was great and rubbed her tummy attributing it to great NYC pizza. I texted this to my family member at the gossip rag-teasing him that here was a pregnancy related bit about her not being pregnant. Next thing I know it’s online at a few different gossip sites as “Katy Perry attributes belly to pizza not baby” Surreal, a random comment turned into a non-story story.
First of all, there was no belly to speak of as Ms Perry danced around in one fabulous outfit after another. Second I’m clearly an idiot for texting the comment-although I’m sure reporters were busy doing the same given the buzzing of the bees. I felt as if I had accidentally wandered into someone’s personal life and territory-and I am someone who talks about giving birth constantly and deals with breasts all day!
Celebrity child interest is not a new thing. We started with kids and babies becoming accessories in the media –dating back to Joan Crawford’s very public adoptions to improve her image and now we cant get enough of who is having who’s baby. I cant help but think it distracts from the real conversations,-like how much we love our kids and want a better safer world for them, or how one overcame challenges of breastfeeding or going back to work or how parents are trying harder than ever to be good parents and good people.
I think the most concerning aspect is that soon, nothing will be sacred in terms of our privacy. We will see some celebs scheduled live c-section on TV, probably followed by a media special on her vaginal rejuvenation, we will watch the slow death by addiction of another celebs child with up to the date close-ups of each score, -I guess I wonder-will anything be sacred in the press anymore? As much as we reveal and expose for own entertainment this then seems to leak into serious media on how much information can I get away with publishing first even if I am incorrect? The insatiable desire spills into all areas of news consumption-as evidenced by the recent publishing of names and addresses of gun owners and the fledgling idea of publishing rape victims names. The general trend towards all things known publicly instantly doesn’t allow us much time to think about what we write, or say or how we react-whether we are the writer or the reader. I’m all for “transparency” but with matters of the heart and body; I want people to have their privacy.
Joy and hope-like grief- can be immensely private and sometimes only deeply felt after experienced in intimate context-not necessarily on a world stage.