Let me start by saying that addressing gossip is something I have never done. I don’t like to give energy to the business of lies, but I wanted to participate in a larger conversation that have begun and needs to continue. Since I’m not on social media, I decided to put my supposes here in writing.
For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up . I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily for the purposes of the guise of “journalism, ” the “First Amendment” and “celebrity news.”
Every day my husband and I are harassed by dozens of aggressive photographers staked outside our home who will go to shocking lengths to procure any kind of photo, even if it entails threatening us or the unlucky pedestrians who happen to be nearby. But setting aside the public safety facet, I want to focus on “the worlds biggest” picture of what this insane tabloid ritual represents to all of us.
If I am some kind of emblem to some people out there, then clearly I am an example of the lens through which we, as a society, view our mothers, daughters, sisters, spouses, female friends and colleagues. The objectification and scrutiny we put girls through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty. Sometimes cultural criteria merely require a different perspective so we can see them for what they actually are — a collective adoption … a subconscious arrangement. We are in charge of our arrangement. Little girls everywhere are absorbing our arrangement, passive or otherwise. And it begins early. The message that girls are not pretty unless they’re unbelievably thin, that they’re not worthy of our attention unless they look like a supermodel or an actress on the cover-up of a publication is something we’re all willingly buying into. This conditioning is something daughters then carry into womanhood. We use celebrity “news” to perpetuate this dehumanizing opinion of females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance, which tabloids turn into a sporting event of speculation. Is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself run? Is her matrimony on the rocks because the camera sees some physical “imperfection”?
The objectification and scrutiny we put girls through is absurd and disturbing.
I used to tell myself that tabloids were like comic books , not to be taken seriously, merely a soap opera for people to follow when they need a distraction. But I actually can’t tell myself that anymore because the reality is the stalking and objectification I’ve experienced first-hand, going on decades now, reflects the warped way we calculatea woman’s worth.
This past month in particular has illuminated for me how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status. The sheer quantity of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant( for the bajillionth day … but who’s counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that girls are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children. In this last boring news cycle about my personal life there have been mass shootings, wildfires, major decisions by the Supreme Court, an upcoming election, and any number of more newsworthy issues that “journalists” could dedicate their resources towards.
Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it is necessary to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Let’s build that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. Let’s build that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves.
We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it is necessary to our bodies.
I have grown tired of being part of this narrative. Yes, I may become a mother some day, and since I’m laying it all out there, if I ever do, I will be the first to let you know. But I’m not in pursuit of motherhood because I feel incomplete in some way, as our celebrity news culture would lead us all to believe. I resent being made to feel “less than” because my body is changing and/ or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird slant and therefore deemed one of two things: “pregnant” or “fat.” Not to mention the painful awkwardness that comes with being congratulated by friends, coworkers and strangers alike on one’s fictional pregnancy( often a dozen periods in a single day ).
From years of experience, I’ve learned tabloid practises, however dangerous, will not change, at least not any time soon. What can change is our awareness and reaction to the toxic messages interred within these apparently harmless tales served up as truth and shaping our the notions of who we are. We get to decide how much we buy into what’s being served up, and maybe some day the tabloids will be forced to see the world through a different, more humanized lens because consumers have just stopped buying the bullshit.
Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com