home
WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND…

Absolutely Fabulous Parenting

GuestBloggers Icon Posted by Guest Blogger

March 24th, 2008

By Guest Blogger Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

What happens when the most glam stars go all… maternal? The fascination with celebrity pregnancies and celebrities’ babies is well documented. These days, a glossy magazine spread for PR is de rigueur when a tiny tot enters a celebrity family. It’s a trend Daniel Harris noted in November of 2006 in Salon citing the rise in maternity fashion as one cause, since a trendsetting woman can remain trendsetting while pregnant nowadays. Pictures featuring celebrity babies of the most coveted order command high price tags (reportedly four million for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s daughter, Shiloh; and less but still seven figures for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ Suri). While we can go on about how the schism between the picture perfect pregnancies, textbook deliveries, happy babies and nearly immediate post-baby bodies widens almost weekly between Hollywood and the real world, I think it’s worth citing two recent “exclusives” in People magazine, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez as cases where the PR machine creates such a totally unbelievable cavern between reality and celebrity “reality” that theirs are not even earthbound experiences, but rather somewhat extraterrestrial.

Sure, like other celebrities, Lopez assures us her twins were conceived totally naturally (she’s quoted: “I knew there was nothing wrong with me. I knew that I could.”) And maybe they were (although the statistics on multiple births would put high odds on medical intervention for conception somewhere in celebrity-land, given that one in eighty twin births are naturally occurring while with fertility treatments on the rise, the twin birth rate is now one in thirty-two). Regardless, her defensive assertion of her body’s “rightness” implies that had she needed assistance—or if other women do, as can often be the case at age 38—that there’s something wrong with them. She, however, is super human along with being rich and famous.

Like other features about celebrity parents, the nannies are not included in any pictures. Although Lopez and husband Marc Anthony employ two, one for each twin, they insist they do not actually use the help, preferring to perform most of the baby care themselves — a ridiculous claim when the nannies had the babies during the magazine interview, just for starters. Is it a sign of pure generosity to hire unnecessary help like that, providing two nannies with a roof over their heads in exchange for no actual provision of child care service? More likely, it’s another fabrication (because without help, how could Lopez find time to put on that much make-up and get all glam?). Similarly, Aguilera waxes maternal in the extreme “in awe of this little miracle” for People. Alongside the clichés, and because the tone is wholly puff piece, even what might be considered slightly controversial—her planned cesarean section—is presented as a choice any woman could make (”I didn’t want any surprises,” she says matter-of-factly of her decision to deliver via scheduled C-section at week 37 of her pregnancy. “Honestly, I didn’t want any [vaginal] tearing. I had heard horror stories of women going in and having to have an emergency C-section [anyway]. The hardest part was deciding on his birthday. I wanted to leave it up to fate, but at the same time I was ready to be done early!”), although like the optional dual baby nurses, that choice is a privilege few can be assured enjoying and the story completely ignores the fact that the practice of electing to have cesareans is one the medical community is completely divided about, given the medical risks associated with this choice.

Perhaps though, it’s the round crib for Aguilera’s baby and the crescent moon prop from her recent tour plopped into the middle of the room, or the dry-clean only nursery accoutrements and clothing for Lopez’s babies that put their layettes into extreme (and, to advertisers, newsworthy) territory. And what of the pictures of these performers themselves? Both photo shoots revealed fastidiously coiffed, made up and dressed stars more in character than in person—note Aguilera’s bright red Marilyn Monroe lips and Lopez’s “casual” ball gown or husband Marc Anthony’s cashmere sweater as they stood by huge prams in front of their mansion with vintage Mercedes sports car parked in the sweeping driveway. When family can be presented as somewhat freakish fantasy—at a remove from normal life—yet at the same time presented as the most real (as in discovering life’s true meaning, not fame, not awards, not gobs of money) every now and then we need to look at these stories and ponder the implications for the rest of us. And there are definite implications: to really get the parenting lifestyle “right,” there are many items to acquire (round cribs, $3,000 prams, cashmere baby outfits) for your perfect baby (or babies, as the case may be).

Beyond consumerism, though, there’s a way in which these women—glamorous to the extreme—offer a challenge to us regular gals, one that dooms regular women to failure: it’s that motherhood doesn’t actually crimp these women’s style (or involve being mussed by a little one’s bodily fluids or get exhausted by sleep deprivation or wake up unwashed, bloated, hungry, cranky… and having to go to back to work). It’s not only the fantasy life but the self-importance that accompanies it that is most dangerous. And that seems to be worth enough—magazine covers with J-Lo’s twins sell—to rob us of adequate critique.

Guest Blogger Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser is a regular contributor to Mothers Movement Online and has a monthly column at NPR’s Justice Talking blog as well as writing for many other publications. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

13 Responses to “Absolutely Fabulous Parenting”

  1. Black Friday Canon T5i Discounts
    November 19th, 2013 19:25
    1

    I have been reading out many of your posts and i can state clever stuff. I will surely bookmark your site.

  2. real estate for sale playa del carmen
    January 17th, 2014 08:48
    2

    I simply wanted to send a small comment to appreciate you for those splendid solutions you are showing on this website. My considerable internet research has at the end of the day been honored with good quality strategies to exchange with my family. I ‘d claim that many of us website visitors actually are extremely fortunate to live in a really good community with so many perfect professionals with helpful strategies. I feel truly happy to have encountered your web page and look forward to some more fun minutes reading here. Thanks a lot once more for all the details.

  3. Mason Moore
    February 3rd, 2014 16:08
    3

    Hi i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i read this piece of writing i thought i could also make comment due to this sensible paragraph.|

  4. Latoya Knife
    March 31st, 2014 00:21
    4

    Thank you, I have just been searching for information approximately this subject for a while and yours is the best I’ve found out till now. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you positive concerning the source?

  5. automobile manufacturers
    September 21st, 2014 05:36
    5

    Nice blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  6. Smart TV
    September 21st, 2014 05:36
    6

    My spouse and i were so fortunate when Edward managed to conclude his research via the ideas he obtained through your web pages. It’s not at all simplistic to simply continually be freely giving concepts which men and women could have been making money from. And we all know we have got the blog owner to be grateful to for that. Those explanations you made, the straightforward web site navigation, the relationships you will assist to foster - it’s got all wonderful, and it’s really assisting our son and our family know that this matter is satisfying, and that’s pretty important. Thank you for the whole thing!

  7. youtube music video
    September 21st, 2014 05:40
    7

    Very nice post and right to the point. I don’t know if this is in fact the best place to ask but do you folks have any ideea where to get some professional writers? Thanks in advance :)

  8. parchet bambus
    August 5th, 2015 01:37
    8

    Certainly with your thoughts here and that i really like your weblog! I’ve bookmarked it generating positive that I can come back & read a lot more within the foreseeable future.

  9. condo funriture
    September 6th, 2015 13:08
    9

    The vacation unique deals offered are believed as a selection of possibly the most preferred and therefore within your budget all more than the globe. Quite numerous hostels can be proudly located inside property which is accented who has striking seashores encouraging crystal-clear rivers, contingency of an Ocean. hotels compare rates

  10. Hyundai Houston
    September 6th, 2015 13:29
    10

    There is noticeably a bundle to realize about this. I assume you created various good points in capabilities also.

  11. pinoy tambayan
    September 9th, 2015 22:22
    11

    What i don’t understood is in fact how you are no longer actually considerably far more well-appreciated than you might be proper now. You might be very intelligent. You realize thus considerably in terms of this matter, produced me in my view consider it from so numerous numerous angles. Its like ladies and men aren’t involved until it truly is one thing to do with Woman gaga! Your private stuffs outstanding. Always take care of it up!

  12. My Personal Diabetes Success works
    September 12th, 2015 01:21
    12

    Inexpensive Replica Handbags You guide me by sharing this toolbox i face difficulty whenever i exploit this promotion reading your blog i am able to easily use.

  13. More Bonuses
    September 12th, 2015 19:41
    13

    There are some fascinating cut-off dates in this article nonetheless I don’t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There’s some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Very good write-up , thanks and we wish extra! Added to FeedBurner as well

Leave a Reply