Lately, I feel like every time I turn around, I see another picture of a celebrity mom either bursting out of her designer maternity tube top or baring her third (or is it fourth?) baby bump for the cameras. (Is it me or is that “baby bump” thing getting kind of annoying? I can’t decide if I think it sounds more like a tumor or like something dirty.) So I have to wonder, is this a current trend or am I only just noticing it because I have now been pregnant and like to “tut tut” over how much weight the celebrity mom-to-be is gaining or speculate on how she’s letting her anorexia threaten the health of her fetus. That’s what suburban moms who read Us Weekly do. We judge. In our stained sweatpants.
So I decided to do a little research using the most prestigious resource available: People Magazine. In reviewing their archive of online covers, I have discovered that on the People Magazine barometer of “what’s hot,” pregnancy and babies are now the it girl of the tabloids. Of course celebrity weddings, affairs and divorces will never go out of style, but celebrity babies are the current up and comer.
Need stats? My calculations show that from 2005 to 2007, an average of eight People Magazine covers per year were devoted to celebrity pregnancy announcements and updates, birth announcements and of course, the multi-million dollar pictures of mom and baby. Examples are Halle’s big news in 2007, Angelina and Shiloh in 2006 and Julia with her twins in 2005. This increases from an average of four covers from 2003 to 2004. My personal favorites are Julia (again) and her “twins” announcement in 2004 and Brooke and her firstborn in 2003. Prior to that, only about one cover per year headlined a story related to celebrity pregnancy. And those that I saw – for example, Gina Davis in 2002, Melissa Gilbert in 1996 and Deirde Hall in 1992 (I’m embarrassed to say that I’m familiar with this last one since I once watched Never Say Never: The Deirdre Hall Story on Lifetime) – seem to report on miracle babies or pregnancy after 40. Those stories were strictly filler for a slow news week. Prior to 1982, the celebrity baby cover genre was non-existent.
And this trend is not limited to supermarket line reading. (That’s right – I’ve done MORE online research!) There are actual websites devoted to celebrity pregnancies. A single google search for “baby bump” resulted in the expected links to pictures and products; but one of the top links was for iVillage’s Celebrity Baby Tracker. My first thought was, “this is someone’s JOB? I wonder if they make more money than I do…” Then I started to consider how many other similar sites would result from “celebrity baby bump.” Let’s see… We get Celebrity Baby Blog (straight from the source: People Magazine), the iVillage Baby Tracker, Celebrity Baby Scoop, Fame Crawler Celebrity Fix (a daily feature on babble), The Latest on Baby Bumps (a feature on omg!), and – get this – The Baby Bump Project (an actual blog that seems to cover research on the subject). There’s more, but I for one think that is plenty, thank you very much. Goodness, I had no idea that this was such a global issue. I feel that I am now a better person for having spent time reading up on the topic. And I will be 100% more interesting at cocktail parties.
So does this mean that I’m now fashionable? I can head over to Bungalow 8 and chat with Gwyneth and Madonna about potty training and pre-school waiting lists? Good to know – I’ll inform the rest of my suburban mom neighbors. But is this a passing trend or proof of a new age in celebrity news? My guess is that we will definitely see a pregnancy cover shot of Hannah Montana (hopefully far in the future of course). I predict that celebrity baby news is here to stay. Babies are the new black. And you know what they say, “once you go black…”