news item: the marketing of celebrity pregnancy

It’s no secret to anyone who has a TV, computer, or at least lives within range of a drug store that sells People magazine: celebrity pregnancy is a constant headline-grabber. Reality TV and social media tools like Twitter have reshaped our access to both the celebrity domain and celebrities themselves. We can all be famous, if we can just sell ourselves to a network from the right angle. Reality TV puts fame and notoriety just beyond our fingertips, and all you need is someone to give you a slight boost so you can reach it. The flip side of reality TV, of course, is “celebreality”– the rich and famous down off their pedestals, doing ordinary stuff we all do, like walk their dogs and take their kids to school. If reality TV gives us all access to being celebrities, celebreality makes celebrities more human and therefore not so much better than us.

And what levels the playing field better than shared human experiences? Celebrities get pregnant, too, and now we have myriad ways of gaining access to their experiences and thoughts and feelings. Paparazzi photos reveal to us that they can gain lots of pregnancy weight, in some cases maybe more than their doctors are comfortable with. They can hop on Twitter and complain about swollen ankles, passing due dates, backaches.

Celebrity pregnancy draws us in, and for that reason, it’s highly marketable. Celebrity sells, and celebrities we can relate to sell even more. Marketable celebrities these days aren’t untouchable like the Hollywood royalty of years past. They are beautiful but not infallible, yet they can go somewhere that the rest of us only want to go. They can get pregnant, gain weight, and then lose that weight in a few months the way we’d all like to imagine we can. And they can get big fat endorsements for doing so– case in point, Jessica Simpson’s rumor-laden Weight Watchers spokeslady gig that may or may not be happening. (It should be noted here that celebrities are, of course, still human.)

The article I just linked you to is slightly off-topic, prattling on about whether post-baby dieting is harmful to the baby and mom, but the tail end of it caught my attention and inspired this post:

Joanna Mazewski, a contributor on the baby-centric site Babble.com, says being a celebrity mom is big business, and getting bigger.

“Jessica Alba is selling us earth and allergy-friendly diapers, Tori Spelling is teaching us how to craft with our kids and Heidi Klum is designing baby and toddler linens at department stores,” she said. “Celebrity parents want to reach out and relate to us the same way we want to relate to them. When we see Jessica drop down to her regular size, we’ll say ‘hey, she did it, we can too.’ It is worth every penny for these companies in the end.” (source: , July 30, 2012, FoxNews.com)

Just like our girl Snooki, who bartop-danced and fist-pumped her way into our hearts on the Jersey Shore and has spun her brief stardom into the keg stand that never ends– three books, numerous TV guest appearances, a speaking engagement at Rutgers University, a handbag collection, and now a new show that overlaps with her pregnancy and engagement and probably some dress-shopping and wedding planning (just going out on a very short limb here)– savvy celebrity moms can, and will, find ways to turn their pregnancy fame into parenting fame. And we, of course, will buy it, even if we know that when we buy the product, we’re buying the idea they’re selling. I don’t think any of us believes that Jessica Alba is a mad scientist who mixed potions together in her basement until she created the world’s best allergy-free diapers. Likewise, if I was someone who had access to her resources, I’d probably come up with an idea that sounded good and pitch it to the people who could create it, slap a photo of my face on the front, and sell it. And hey– if I can just get my foot in the door with American Ninja Warrior, maybe I can scoot my way up the ladder and land a talk show, and then we’ll see.

 

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Do you confess to indulging in celebrity mom gossip or following celebrity moms on Twitter?

What do you think about how celebrity pregnancy is marketed?

Are your opinions colored at all by your experiences with infertility?

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Comments

  1. I’m more interested in pregnancies after infertility e,g. Giuliana Ransic.

    • I watched their show for that whole season when they were doing IVF. After they backed off on that, I lost interest. But it was awesome at the time because I was doing treatments (not IVF though) and I was like, yes, someone gets it and it’s on TV!

  2. I actually get frustrated with how news-worthy pregnant celebs have become. Maybe it’s left overs from dealing with IF. The pregnancies I care about are those of my friends and family… not some flash in the pan, no-talent, wannabe (gee, bitter much? LOL).

    And the headlines about so-and-so’s baby weight, in my opinion, are just indicators of how low our society has sunk. When things like that take precidence over real news, like the horrors happening in Syria or elder abuse taking place in our own backyards, it just makes me nuts.

    • Yeah, our priorities are all screwed up. And I have a hard time with even friends’ pregnancies sometimes (bad friend, I know) so I totally get it. It’s a bit hard to swallow.

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