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Quick hit: Against baby bumps

So I basically assume that most Shapelings also read Shakesville, since we link there a lot and of course our Kate is a star Shaker… but just in case you don’t, allow me to direct your attention to Liss’s righteous protest against the trend of celebrity pregnancy spotting.

And of course girls growing up in a culture obsessed with this shit will be worried about making sure they don’t look like they’ve got a “baby bump” either—and the thinner a girl is, the more likely a visible pooch is to appear after a full meal or even a bottle of freaking water, making the already-thinnest girls more at risk for deliberately starving or dehydrating themselves to avoid perfectly normal and natural full-belliedness.

Beyond that, there’s a whole other layer of reinforcing the idea that women’s ultimate value is as babymaking machines, and yet another layer of reinforcing the notion that women’s bodies are community property, and yet another layer of reinforcing the straight male gaze as the norm by disproportionately objectifying women’s bodies, and yet another layer of concepts regarding treating pregnancy as a tacit approval for invasion of privacy, and a whole lot of other basic feminist alarms that are all just blinking in my head at once.

Check out the whole thing.

16 thoughts on “Quick hit: Against baby bumps”

  1. Can we add to the complaint bucket the trend of t-shirts proclaiming the user to be pregnant and not fat? I think it springs from the same foul source as celebrity bump spotting.


  2. When I eat, my stomach always become visibly distended for about an hour afterwards. I call it my “food baby.”

  3. “Baby bump” is a phrase that makes me wince. I try to tune out the culture of celeb-obsession as much as poosible, but yet my eyes are always uncontrollably drawn to the tabloids when I wait in line at the supermarket or 711. “Bump-spotting” or whatever you want to call it, really bugs me. I think it’s because of the idea that celebrity pregnancy is viewed as some kind of a trend — like a pregnant belly or an infant is equivalent to a hot new accessory.
    This post, though, does a fine job of articulating the myriad other reasons why the “bump” is problematic. Now I hate it even more.

  4. My very thin friend Lisa was freaking out one time about what a big belly she’d suddenly gotten… she was like “what the hell, did I suddenly gain five pounds?” Finally, I was like “Lisa, did you, like, just eat?” Yeah… her fat belly was made out of soup.

    But in Hollywood it doesn’t even take a soup baby. Wearing a roomy shirt is reason enough for people to start speculating on the state of your uterus — because you invite that simply by being female.

  5. I have a very thin brother, and especially when he was sixteen and cleaning out the fridge five times a day, he’d get that belly. Usually it was the two-packs-of-ramen-noodles-and-a-couple-of-chili-dogs belly.

    They’re also talking about lactose intolerance causing distended abdomens, and whoa, do I know that one. It takes about three days of NO MILK EVER for my belly to be as flat as it’s going to get. Needless to say, that rarely happens.

    The first comment, though, is the most horrifying: “When did she get so fat?” I probably would have flayed the coworker verbally.

  6. Reminds me of this casting I just got in my inbox for a booze commercial…

    “Female Bartender: Brazilian female or someone who appears Brazilian with dark features, mid 20’s-30. You should have a Brooke Burke pre-baby body, sexy, a little mischievous looking like Angelina Jolie. You must have Mixology experience, and can work fluidly with cocktails, glasses, bottles and shaker. English speaking, sexy voice. Talent with Brazilian heritage are encouraged to submit. Must be legally 25 years old or older. “

  7. Or they could have some period bloat. Which is kind of the antithesis of a baby bump.

    And I agree with the first person. I saw a maternity shirt somewhere that said “does this baby make me look fat” and nearly puked.

    I’d also like to point out that it annoys me that in some stores (I’m looking at you, Target) the “women’s” section and the maternity section are together and the line is really blurry, sometimes they are practically mixed up as one section. Maybe it just bugs m because of the time I took this really adorable dress in to try on and realized it was a maternity dress once I noticed the belly was baggy (!) and the booty was tight.

    My stomach is always lumpy. But I’ve known some people with otherwise flat stomachs look a wee bit preggers after a big meal. Wah wah.

  8. You know, the airlines should just increase the prices unilaterally if they need more money AND BE DONE WITH IT. Then people can choose to fly or not fly. I don’t want to hear about extra little fees for this or that–nickel and dime. Either you can afford to fly or you can’t, end of story–one of the many, many changes we are all going to have to deal with in our Brave New World of high gas prices.

    The more you give people chances to look for discounts or avoid surcharges, the longer it will even take to board the plane.

  9. I’m pregnant right now, and so far no one has commented on my belly. I do hate the phrase baby bump with a passion. I am also fat, and only 4 months pregnant, so I know that at this point my belly is slightly ambiguous. :) I admit that in my struggle to have a healthy body image and love myself regardless of weight, I do feel a bit self-conscious about the belly protruding even further than it normally does. I’m working on this, although having an OB/GYN who tells me not to gain more than ten pounds during pregnancy didn’t help. Anyway, I’ve been kinda disgusted with maternity clothing, because a lot of it seems too cutesy/flowery for my taste and rather boring, and seems like it’s screaming “i’m not a sexual being, i’m harmless and sweet and most *certainly* not just a fat woman.”

  10. “When I eat, my stomach always become visibly distended for about an hour afterwards. I call it my “food baby.””

    Ha! Meg, someone I used to work with had that! She changed jobs recently. I miss her food baby; it was a happy little mound in a sea of crazy lunch-time diet talk.

  11. Oh, God, Liza, I hate that about Target, too. They used to have the maternity wear well away from the women’s sizes, but they rearranged, and now I keep almost picking up preggie clothes! Which would be fine, but I actually do kinda have a round tummy, and I really do not want to be mistaken for pregnant when I’m, say, having a few beers or some nice sashimi. People give you dirty looks.

  12. When I was pregnant (both times) I lived in L.A., and it was probably the only time in my life I’ve ever been “trendy.” Yeah, me and Kate Hudson. Pregnancy trend-setters.
    Anyway, I must say that most people were very nice to me. But a handful…OY!
    One guy (yes, A GUY) cornered me at a dinner party and demanded to know if I was planning on breastfeeding. I’d known him all of about 5 minutes. Another time, at a playground with my son when I was pregnant with my daughter, a woman asked if I was going to have a home birth with a dula, then proceeded to give me ALL the details on HER magical home birth. At the time, I had an HMO and lived in an apartment next to the Armenian mafia. Even if my HMO would pay for a home birth (HA!), I’d probably have gotten shot once the labor pains started for making too much noise.
    Our bodies are our business. Maybe we should make a t-shirt that says just that. A simple “None of your business” written right across the stomach.
    (Of course, it would help if people would stop splaying every detail of their personal lives all over YouTube and reality TV.)

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