Cultural Imperialist

"Scathing Spats on Shallow Subjects"

 

Wed Apr 26

 

2017

 
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Pause the Pregnant Poses

Enough with the pregnant nudie photoshoots. We get it. You're a birther. You have chillun gestating in you, that you're the true creators in the male/female dynamic. You get bigger boobs, and your skin has Miley Cyrus shininess from the stretching. But do we really need another Demi Moore cover? Now we have Chanelle Hayes giving us a freebie at her glory curves, and before her we had Klum, Jovovitch, Spears, Schiffer, and Crawford all giving us their zygote-infused glamour shots, one arm crossed over their American shame buttons (nipples for the uninformed), the other supporting their baby girth, a subtle reminder that supporting a child is a lifelong requirement.

The celeb nude and encumbered with child photos are almost a mainstay in the mag world, hunkered somewhere between woman-oriented and titillating, what I call the "quarter-Maxims," Vanity Fair perhaps being the exception. But it's not sexy. It's like looking at a Jeff Koons blow-up balloon animal sculpture, all bulbous and shiny and set on a background of white. The practiced pose is awkward; the pretense of having been surprised (and thus the covering of the breasts) is preempted by the vacant stare off into the distance, or weirder, the sexual "come hither" look. Someone came, and someone conquered, just not any of us looking at the magazine cover.

The craze infested even the most reliably blue collar among us. I've seen photos of friends and wives of friends who've all done the Naked and Pregnant photo shoot, usually with fifteen layers of stockings shading the lens to accentuate the glow from some off-screen source lamp.

Then there are the photos where the woman stands like a Greek goddess statue while her man, perhaps naked or at least shirtless, is bent in supplication, kissing the swollen belly bearing the fruit of his sack endeavors. If there is such a thing as moderate fetish, this is it. Nothing about it is overtly sexual or even sensual, but there's a kind of Mapplethorpeyness to the thing that makes you wonder if the next pic you flip to will be a naked guy urinating on a horse while another naked guy is hogtied and hanging from a wall hook behind him. It's the sort of photo that makes you wonder if the models in the frame are aware that what might be evocative and bond-building for them is simply creepy for everyone else.

I know that a photo preggers au naturel is supposed to be empowering, and taking pride in one's body even when subjected to some of the most horrific forces nature has in its arsenal against physiology (gravity and weird genetic diseases perhaps being sadder) is commendable. But if there's any way we can leave those prints on the cutting room floor, it'd be a relief.

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