Hilaria Baldwin and the Strange Allure of Celebrity Fertility – The New York Times

This supermom ideal began to emerge in celebrity media profiles during the 1980s, as part of a post-second wave feminist push to promote mothers in the work force, said Elizabeth Podnieks, a professor of English at Ryerson University in Canada, whose research focuses on motherhood in popular culture. There was this sense that the celebrity mother was the perfect role model for contemporary women, she said. They had these glamorous careers but were also these glamorous mothers. That there was an enormous amount of money and child care support undergirding this glamour went unspoken.

The ideal went into overdrive in the early 00s, said Anne Helen Petersen, a celebrity gossip expert and the author of Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman. Thats when tabloid magazines were competing for paparazzi photos of celebrities just living their lives, Ms. Petersen said, and the so-called basketball pregnancy was held up as the goal thats when a womans body looks otherwise unchanged by carrying a baby, save for a cute, easily adorned bump, like they swallowed a basketball.

In the early 10s, when social media became ubiquitous, stars internalized that tabloid surveillance and took control of it themselves, Ms. Petersen said. In some ways, it was a smart move after all, celebrity pregnancy is a big business now, and many of Ms. Baldwins Instagram posts are sponsored content for various pregnancy and kid-related products.

But there is a dark side. They cant escape from that lens once they turn it on themselves, Ms. Petersen said. This is something Ms. Baldwin has lamented. In an interview with The Times in December she said, I am entitled to my privacy. People say, No, youre not entitled to your privacy because you married a famous person and you have Instagram. Well, thats not really true.

Both Ms. Petersen and Dr. Podnieks find Ms. Baldwins stated desire for privacy tough to square with her savvy use of social media. When they post these images, theyre promoting a number of things. Its not done innocently or navely, Dr. Podnieks said. In Ms. Baldwins case, when she posts a photo of herself just months postpartum in lingerie, shes promoting her capabilities as a fitness instructor, said Dr. Podnieks; shes implying that if you use her methods, you too can look like her.

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Hilaria Baldwin and the Strange Allure of Celebrity Fertility - The New York Times

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