OROn Sunday night, Cardi B announced her pregnancy in a spectacular way: on stage. At the BET Awards in Los Angeles, during a performance with her husband, Offset’s band Migos, the rapper appeared in a rhinestone-encrusted jumpsuit and a bulging bump. On Instagram, posted a profile photo of herself cradling the bulge, with only a white cast on her body, captioned with the simple hashtag # 2.
This augmented, performance-based revelation of celebrity babies has become normalized in recent years. It is a strange moment, of “breaking the Internet”, where business and personal collide. “The boundary between fan and celebrity has become much more permeable due to social media,” says fashion teacher Liza Betts. “It would make sense when the distinctions between public / private and fan / celebrity become more blurred, for something as private as pregnancy to be shared.”
When Beyoncé finished a performance of Love on Top at the 2011 MTV Awards (a year after Instagram’s launch) by unbuttoning her purple sequin tuxedo to show off her pregnant belly, it was a watershed moment for this kind of speech between a celebrity and the audience. . For the notoriously private Beyoncé, it was a way, before Beyhive, to connect intimately with her fans. He also put Love on Top, who was loved by the singer but had underperformed commercially, back into the conversation. It was significant that the singer’s outfit, a tuxedo, a garment of great gender, had been chosen for this very feminine moment. It is interesting to compare this with your 2017. pregnancy reveal on Instagram: After the revelations of infidelity in her album Lemonade, this time the singer revealed her bulk dressed in a veil and surrounded by flowers. She felt adult, more feminine, and like a rebirth.
The longer-term effect was the most significant. When pregnancy and the pregnant body are still stigmatized in popular culture (and still the subject of horror movies, 50 years after Rosemary’s Baby), Beyoncé made the (black) pregnant body an object of admiration and desire. One has to think of the now legendary Neneh Cherry. Buffalo Stance’s performance in Top of the Pops in 1988, dressed in a copper lamé bomber jacket, bodice, and huge gold medallion, her pregnant belly wrapped in a lycra skirt (and the TOTP cameraman seemingly hesitant to shoot her from below the waist), to find another moment where strength and feminine power were visually encoded with pregnancy. Cardi B largely took on the mantle of Cherry: as a rapper who brings an ultra-feminine experience to a traditionally masculine space.
Through Love on Top, Beyoncé normalized the baby reveal for celebrities. Katy Perry revealed hers in the video of Daisies, dressed in white, shot in the style of a home movie. Others, like Nicki Minaj and Grimes, have posted poses on Instagram that evoke Cover of Vanity Fair 1991 by Demi Moore. Annie Leibovitz’s nude photography was, like the Beyoncé moment, an open door for others to pass through. As Moore recently said Naomi campbell: “I understand the impact it had on the world, on women, on our permission to hug each other while pregnant.”
But Betts believes there is a darker side: “They make us believe that it is possible to have it all, have a successful career and be a good mother, raise happy and successful children,” she says. “Pregnancy, motherhood and fertility are seen as another selling point.”
And yet, even though the nature of pregnancy disclosure is changing, Cardi B’s performance demonstrated that the importance of embracing a state of pregnancy remains significant to women around the world.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism