Beyoncé and Jay-Z have never been the king and queen of subtlety, but her pregnancy announcement on Instagram takes that tendency to new and absurd levels. This momentous occasion has received more worldwide attention than many actually newsworthy events, with social media exploding over the news that Queen Bey is having twins.
While celebrities in various shades of undress have broken the Internet before (Kim Kardashian’s butt being a prime example), this time there’s sweetness mixed in with the eye-rolling, because who doesn’t love babies? Yet it also proves that celebs treat every occasion as an opportunity to remind us they have fabulous bodies, and that feminist rules don’t matter when they’re inconvenient.
Apparently it’s also become de rigueur to make a pregnancy announcement in one’s skivvies, but this trend shows no sign of slowing. Sure, an announcement prominently displaying a baby bump draws attention to a woman’s belly, but letting the rest of one’s body hang out looks like you’re hoping for attention to the rest of what’s being displayed. In this case it’s a bra and some ruffly panties that are probably worth more than what some people make in a week. We get it, you’re still hot.
Yet in a week with many more pressing issues around the globe, like Supreme Court nominations and changes to immigration policy, Twitter saw 17,000 tweets about this baby news per minute.
The instant obsession with this pregnancy is just as myopic as the lengths #TeamYonce went to in staging this photo. The flowers, the pose, the strange tulle veil—it’s all too much. But that’s what people want. They want self-absorption, they want narcissism, and they don’t want to have to pay attention to serious news. Who cares about international relations, how much we’re spending on a wall, or what Steve Bannon has planned next when there’s celebrity babies and boobs to think about?
But there are still serious issues at play here, albeit more subtly than that picture. The next time we want Americans to acknowledge that unborn babies are actually people, for example, we should just flap around Beyoncé’s picture announcement and the responses to it.
I applaud the tweets matter-of-factly treating Beyonce's unborn children as people pic.twitter.com/bYjWc7rjmP
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) February 1, 2017
Yes, Beyoncé’s babies are real people, although many of the same outlets recognizing that fact refuse to acknowledge it when discussing abortion. As some people have noted, it’d be more consistent for them to call this her “fetus bump” than a baby bump. While that certainly doesn’t have the same feel-good ring to it, it’d be more ideologically consistent. Those of us who always love babies should stop and take note. Let’s consider being this over-the-top for every baby, and maybe we’ll start to sway some minds and hearts.
That’s because millions imitate what Beyoncé does and thinks. Beyoncé is a cultural powerhouse and a fashion icon, even if her announcement photo evokes former president George Bush.
TRENDWATCH 2017 pic.twitter.com/N6a38I0J4o
— Molly McGlew (@MollyMcGlew) February 1, 2017
Even feminists love Beyoncé, even though her behavior often points out their incoherence and hypocrisy. While the world is going wild keeping up with changing rules on how we gender people, they’re willing to throw out the requirement that we call expectant mothers pregnant people when it’s a beloved star like Beyoncé. Gender exclusionary language is only problematic when it’s an average person using it, I guess, not when it’s about famous mothers and fathers.
It didn’t take long for people to make the jump from “Yay, babies!” to wondering exactly whether those twins were conceived with fertility treatments. Beyoncé has shared her struggles with miscarriage, and if she wants people all up in her baby business this time around it’s a fair assumption that she will tell us. Until then, mind your own business. The only people who need to know the details about these babies’ conception is the mother, the father, and their medical team.
Many people care about these particular unborn babies simply because Beyoncé is a superstar. Her celebrity status also lets her get away with the totally gauche display in her announcement. If any of the rest of us attempted that pose in our undies it would make millions of Pinterest lists about what not to do in life. This announcement is seriously ridiculous, but honestly, it’s ridiculously awesome. Congrats on those babies, Beyoncé and Jay-Z.