There's much being said about the April issue of Elle magazine, which features Dallas' own Jessica Simpson as the latest star to pose nude and pregnant on the cover of a magazine. Because there's apparently no other way to photograph a woman with child than nude on the cover of a women's fashion magazine. Oh hey, the cover tells us big hair is back!
Much of the chatter is coming from tabloid blogs, and for many of them, the just-as-infantalizing noun "baby bump" is ingrained in their vocabulary. Yes, LOL, she's nude! OMG, she revealed the sex of the baby she made with an NFL star! But this cover raises a bigger question, especially in a week where Rush Limbaugh has been lashing out at single, educated women who would like to have access to birth control like we're piñatas filled with Oxycontin.
Why do we feel the need to sexualize expectant (and non-expectant) pop stars this way, and in the same exact pose as Demi Moore and Britney Spears, no less. Have we not evolved past that? Why are women with some level of success forever relegated to the same cliché poses? Sandra Fluke was called a slut because she wants birth control to be covered by health insurance. On the other end of that argument, we've got Jessica Simpson saying of her unborn daughter: "I swear I will croak if she asks me for a pair of Nikes instead of Christian Louboutins!" (Don't worry, there's an alternate cover of her clothed as well.)
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Yes, I know Elle's not the most feminist of magazines. There to the right of Simpson's blond weave is the headline about "Everything Beauty," which goes on to hype "which products and procedures really work." Can't find the right face cream? Just get a few nips and tucks.
Another problematic bit from the "behind the scenes" interview: "Eric is so athletic. We're gonna have this athletic girl and I won't even be able to take her shopping." Way to unfairly label your unborn child, J-Simps!
And then, and then, and then this. Elle's circulation is in the millions, and the message to women and girls who are reading is if you're rich and famous enough, taste shouldn't matter, right?
Happy International Women's Day!