Mommy Mania

I bought this month’s edition of Vogue because Nicole Kidman was on the cover.

There’s something about Kidman that I’ve always admired; perhaps it’s that she seems like a woman of character or maybe it’s because she makes movies that she believes in that can be either light-hearted or heavy-hitting.

It seems, however, that John Powers has decided to paint this iconic actor in an uncharacteristically flighty and faddish light: as an airhead female actress who uses pregnancy and childbirth to monopolize the limelight and increase her personal marketability.

From the Spears boys, the Lopez-Anthony twins, to the Jolie-Pitt brood, American pop culture has become saturated with smiling mommies and pregnant bellies; “baby bumps,” “first pictures,” and baby names; it’s almost as if our societal biological clock has gone off: The whole country has gone bat shit crazy over babies.

Powers’ cover article, entitled Days of Heaven, depicts Kidman’s current state of mind as almost euphoric. She’s calm and centered; she’s working on the film of her dreams (an epic film by Baz Luhrman about and entitled Australia) and she’s *gasp* finally pregnant! *swoooon* Suddenly her life has “slowed down” and she’s ready for her life’s greatest work.

Before you run off to Babys’R’Us, may I remind you that she’s already a mother. There is a dangerous prioritization of natural childbirth over adoption that is occurring in both fiction and non-fiction; in the film Match Point, while the character Chloe laments her difficulty conceiving, a friend suggests adoption as another viable option– “Oh no!” she frankly and shockingly scoffs, “I want to have my OWN children!” Charlotte York-Goldenblatt in the SATC movie is finally blessed with her “own” child, and, in “real” life, women like Angelina Jolie and Kidman get more positive press once they’ve conceived. Slight problem: they. already. have. children! They AREN’T, as Powers puts it, embarking on “the most demanding roles of all” that of “happy [wives] and mother[s].” They already embody these roles on a daily basis!

And why specify “happy?” Because he’s furthering a harmful stereotype and causal relationship between women and motherhood: that women find a “natural balance” once they’ve had children, that women become calm, centered, and “happy” once they’ve fulfilled their life’s purpose.  And Why is this harmful? Because it isn’t true! Scientific studies have proven that there isn’t a “maternal instinct;” that that which pop psychiatrists call “inherent” is actually taught and learned! And it creates an environment where women feel as though they’ve somehow failed when they don’t immediately know what to do when their children are born or when they face any obstacles in those first few days, months, years. PPD anyone? Don’t get me started.

And second, where are the fathers in this new baby-crazed world? Where is the lauding of fatherhood that should be occurring in tandem with this new mother-worship? Why aren’t men held up to the same level of scrutiny as women once they become fathers? Why don’t we see interviews in soft focus with men like Brad Pitt or K-Fed? Why don’t we hear about them ‘becoming comfortable in their own skins’ now that they’ve become “part of something larger than themselves?” Why don’t we hear about the trials that men like Tom Cruise face as they struggle with work-life balance?  Why do we STILL expect women to do the lion’s share when it comes to child care?

However, I can’t prescribe the fault alone to the popular press and Paparazzi, or in this case Vogue and Powers, because Kidman herself discusses at length her new hobby of organic gardening and spending time “just sitting” at the Kidman-Urban farm in Tennessee where they also have deer and wild turkeys, and she is legitimately excited about carrying a child. What I can do, is point out that this so-called epidemic “slow down” isn’t occurring because she’s having a child (she got the farm pre-pregnancy and continued working the grueling hours on the Australia film after she found out), and it doesn’t mean she’s any less ruthless in her career. If anything, it’s showing that even the toughest actor in Hollywood needs time to relax. If anything, it shows that her first marriage sucked and she’s finally found some happiness with Urban. So why are we so obsessed with what’s growing in her womb? Why are we fixating on that to explain everything else away?

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3 responses to “Mommy Mania

  1. the current obsession with pregnancy and mommy-hood is really interesting. magazines and blogs are not only focusing on the bump and glow of pregnancy but seem to be ready to jump on these women for their mommy-mistakes.

    criticism on female parents seems like it’s in hyper-drive. if mom goes out for drinks and leaves the kid with a sitter she’s selfish and a terrible role-model but if dad does he’s been working way too hard and needs a break. gag me with a spoon.

  2. Seriously it concerns me that some men have no idea what’s involved let alone to physically and emotionally desire to have a baby with a man they truly love with all their heart.

    Nicole is an exceptional positive role model for so many women around the world, she is a real human being, she is entitled to live her life whatever way she pleases whether the public, media, family or friends approve or not, don’t forget firstly Nicole loves Isabella and Connor unconditionally and only wants the best for them that life can bring their way but most of all she would want them to be safe, happy, loved and have a healthy relationship with them that includes surrounded by loving family and trusting friends.

    Nicole has had first hand experience of horrendous pain, heartache and betrayal of trust, experienced two miscarriages, betrayal from her ex-husband who she grew to trust and love, experienced first hand manipulation and the darkness from the number two Scientologist in the world, has been threatened with permanent isolation from her Isabella and Connor, threatened her with career to be destroy and subtle undermined, abandoned and rejected because she would not convert to be a fulltime scientology cult member, continued isolated from her two children with being unable to share her pregnancy experience with Isabella and Connor, Notifed by third party that she was being divorced by person of trust whilst pregnant with his child, experienced abandonment and miscarried for the second time, divorced after 10 years of marriage and physical and emotional isolation from Isabella and Connor, Then having the whole world view her pain, vulnerability and sadness through the eyes of the media,
    Nicole continued to keep herself busy for her own well being, She continued to reach out and persue a loving and healthy relationship with Isabella and Connor, Experienced first hand interference by her ex- Tom Cruise and has his Scientologist sister Cass have them move in with her and full-time schooled them in the teachings of Scientology, Poor Isabella and Connor being caught in the middle of Tom Cruise own agenda for his two adopted children, Then Tom Cruise puts his foot down and denies Nicole physical access to the Isabella and Connor so as children of a celebrity Scientologiest they are being groom for Tom’s own selfish motives and he continues to manipulate others to gain approval by the media, the higher archy of movie makers etc etc etc…… How are Isabella and Connor suppose grow a healthy happy relationship with their real mother Nicole when Tom Cruise keeps putting up No No No from the Scientology cult laws of isolation and abandoning anyone who is not a converted Scientologists.
    Nicole was denied contact with Isabella and Connor last Christmas, Mother’s Day, Birthdays and other famiily events, but Nicole has continually persisted in maintaining a loving relationship with Isabella and Connor.

    To top it off Tom Cruise allows Isabella and Connor to spend lots of time with other celebrity Scientology children and parents.

    Interestingly Tom Cruise allowed Isabella and Connor to bare witness to Suri’s birth 12 months ago but when Nicole fell pregnant she was denied access to Isabella and Connor.
    What sort of message is this sending to Isabella and Connor? They are becoming teenagers and Tom better watch out!

    During the joyful experience of pregnance for Nicole she was denied the the same experience of sharing the birth of Sunday Rose as Nicole’s unconditional love with Isbella & Connor has never wained for a moment.
    To top it off Tom refuses for them to see Nicole until 12 days after Sunday Rose has been born.

    What does this tell you?

    Let hope there is more joy and happiness in the future for Isabella, Connor, Sunday Rose, Nicole and Keith.

    God Bless all.

    God Bless Them.

  3. yah, tom cruise is an ass.

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