Hollywood Pregnancy, the Media & the Childfree
It’s not anything new—we see articles about Hollywood stars getting pregnant all over the news stands. It is a pervasive way to reinforce what is already a child-centric society.
But some articles go farther; they send negative messages and perpetuate inaccuracies about what it means when you don’t have children.
Take USA Today’s recent feature article on Mariah Carey’s announcement of her pregnancy. In the article, Dina Sansing of US Weekly magazine says that Carey’s pregnancy could make Carey more “relatable.” As in--people will now be able to better relate to her since she will be more like them as parents. What if you don’ have kids? Does this mean you are less relatable? This kind of communication reinforces the childfree as living in the tributaries of society.
Worse, Sansing says Carey’s pregnancy “solidifies” Nick and her as a couple. This implies that if you don’t have kids you aren’t truly “a couple” yet. You aren’t really a “family” until you create offspring. But is this true?
Brian Powell’s book Counted Out examines how men and women of different ages, races, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds view what constitutes a “family.” Regarding “couples” who don’t have kids, 92% thought that a married, heterosexual couple without kids was a family. Only 40% considered unmarried, heterosexual couples with no kids a family. And only 33% thought that same-sex couples without kids were a family.
Interestingly, the research tells us that it is not kids that “solidifies” you as a legitimate social “unit” as much as whether you are married or straight. Not only do we as a society need to work on this, but when it comes to talking about pregnancy and babies, the media need to work on language that reflects reality and does not indirectly negatively portray those for whom pregnancy does not apply.