Natalie Portman Called Out A Tabloid For Speculating She’s Pregnant Because It ‘Seemed Like’ She Had A Baby Bump. Sigh.
Since it is Valentine’s Week, I had a very intense date with my boyfriend, the Pizza, last night. And after a hot-n-heavy makeout sesh where a lot of corny and cheesy things went down, I found myself in front of my full-length bedroom mirror, admiring the food baby that we’d made from our love. Now, if I were a high-profile celebrity, who stepped out in that… erm… delicate condition, what are the odds that paparazzi spotting me would speculate that I was pregnant? Too damn high. And would that be okay? Of course, not. It never was, but it is all the more problematic to do it in today’s time and age. So imagine how pissed Natalie Portman was when she spotted a tabloid doing the exact same thing!
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The actress and mother of two is in Sydney, Australia, currently, where she is filming Thor: Love & Thunder. Recently, she took to her Instagram stories to call out an NY Post article that speculated she was pregnant because they saw her step out with what ‘seemed’ like a baby bump.
You know what this reminds me of? As any overweight kid will tell you, the ‘pregnancy bump’ insult is one of the most common ways that you’d get teased about your weight. “Which trimester is it” or “Your belly looks like you’re preggers!” were the kind of comments that not just girls but even boys have to tolerate if they are a certain body type. And it can take a long, long time for anyone who has experienced this kind of body shaming and teasing to come out of it and be confident about their body.
Which is why I am so glad that Natalie Portman called out the tabloid for trying to ascertain her pregnancy just because her body appeared to them a certain way. Here we are—influencers, activists, celebrities, writers, even brands—trying to promote body positivity and acceptance. And I don’t understand (neither does Natalie Portman, from the looks of it) why someone would think it a good idea to look at a woman and assume she is pregnant because her belly isn’t flat! What even?
“Apparently it’s still okay in 2021 for anyone to speculate and comment on a woman’s body shape whenever they want? Do better.”
Yep, exactly. Do better. Tabloids, paps and the media that constantly shames and reports on women in the most crass and degrading way needs to do so much better. We’ve all become so sensitive and conscious of the biases in our reportage and writing when it comes to talking about race or people with disabilities and even the LGBTQ+ community. But when it comes to women, which ICYMI, is half the planet’s population, we’re still going to use photos with an ‘out there’ décolletage when there is absolutely any other photo that could’ve been used. And the words that we use to describe women are almost always riddled with subconscious bias.
Recently, Jameela Jamil also called out tabloid culture for the language they used to talk about women. The tabloid in question, Daily Mail (notorious in this regard, FYI), used the word ‘flaunt’ like so many other publications that talk about celebrities do, in an article about a pregnant Emma Stone running errands in Los Angeles.
Tabloid culture hates and lives to degrade and turn us against women.
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) February 7, 2021
And isn’t that an eye-opener? How many times have we ourselves adopted this lingo and referred to women using such words that seem to indicate everything women do is OTT, dramatic, and ostentatious? Isn’t there were other biases like “nagging wife” and “cry like a girl” come from?
Of course, these old habits and biases won’t go away overnight and will need a lot of conscious conditioning to withdraw from completely. But we gotta accept that we’re doing wrong, admit our own mistakes and repeatedly correct ourselves to do better. And I’m glad we’ve got more and more women who wield influence calling out anyone who refuses to get with the programme.