Get out of Jessica Simpson’s womb!

Is she or isn't she! Who cares? The tabloid obsession with celebrity baby-bumps reduces women to their uterus

Topics: Motherhood, Celebrity, Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Simpson,

Get out of Jessica Simpson's womb! Jessica Simpson (Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

So far this week, a very not-pregnant Jennifer Aniston has had to explain that she’s merely “gained a couple of pounds” since quitting smoking, while an increasingly big-bellied Jessica Simpson remains conspicuously silent about her obvious midsection girth. We are living in strange times indeed, celebrity womb-wise.

We’ve come a long way from the days when Lucille Ball’s pregnancy was so discreetly managed, that she couldn’t even use the word “pregnant” on her own television show, and since Shirley Jones quietly plowed through her work in “The Music Man” while costume designers diligently let out her dresses. Then in August 1991, celebrity fecundity jumped the shark when Demi Moore appeared nude and ready to drop on the cover of Vanity Fair. In the 20 years since then, tabloid culture has eagerly made a mountain out of every muffin top, turning every C-lister’s bout of bloat into a possible baby bump. And when a woman does go public with her status, she’s still subject to intense — nay, crackpot — scrutiny. Witness the obsessive attention Beyonce’s abdomen area has been getting of late, and rumors that she’s faking the whole thing. Note to everybody: Real life rarely resembles a plot point on “Glee.”

Meanwhile, Simpson seems to be swelling up like a tick these days, but is keeping her lips firmly zipped. The New York Post speculated that Simpson — who has made a career of belching and flatulence on her reality show, and who on Tuesday tweeted a photo of herself on a toilet — might have discovered discretion in the hope of a six-figure payoff. Simpson, who’s engaged to former San Francisco 49er Eric Johnson, is allegedly shopping around her exclusive story – and access to the obligatory post-baby photo spread — to the cool tune of $500,000. Because why get knocked up if you can’t leverage the crap out of it? But regardless of her motives, Simpson appears to have committed the cardinal sin of waiting too long to make hay of her blessed event. When and if she finally grants that big tell-all, it’ll likely be the biggest “No duh” since Ricky Martin came out. “Is she or isn’t she?” sells magazines. But “Guess why I can’t see my feet, y’all?” is, with every passing day, considerably less of a tabloid bombshell.

You Might Also Like

Which brings us to poor Jen. Child-free and 42, Aniston is the reigning queen of baby speculation. Does a week go by without her face on the cover of some supermarket rag, the words “baby” and “drama” or “at last” or “heartbreak” blazing somewhere nearby? If I were Jennifer Aniston, I think I’d get pregnant just to shut Bonnie Fuller the hell up.

Maybe it’s because Aniston seems to have so much — she’s rich, successful and was just voted America’s “hottest body” in a new Fitness and Yahoo! poll – that the idea that she’s in fact a barren, miserable crone holds some public fascination. She can’t possibly be happy just being a beautiful movie star, right? RIGHT? I mean, Brad Pitt left her and now he’s got six kids – doesn’t that say something?

Maybe. Or maybe, crazy as this may sound to some, Jennifer Aniston is cool with not being a mother. It happens! All the time! But the frantic attention her stubbornly unpregnant body gets definitely says something about where we are as a culture that we continue to define women – powerful, attractive, wealthy women – by their ability to reproduce. That they can either parlay their fertility into a branding opportunity, or apologetically admit that the few extra ounces on the undisputed hottest body in America are not in fact an imminent bundle of joy. You’ve come a long way, babymakers.

We are all – the famous and the not, the MTV teen moms and the pampered housewives, the perfectly dressed  supermoms and the contentedly child-free – more than the contents of our uteri. That’s why I strongly believe the government needs to stay out of our wombs. And it’s high time Us magazine scrams as well.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>