by Charing Ball
There is an interesting theory behind what caused the most recent East Coast earthquake, which is that when people, mostly black, first heard the rumor that Will and Jada Smith had separated, the energy and vibration from the collective groaning caused the earth’s fault planes to shift. Of course, this is only a joke but judging by the near apocalyptic reaction some folks were having to the rumored split, I am willing to give this joke some attention.
As a society we have this weird thing of relating to celebrities and their triumphs, mistakes and pain more easily than to our own friends and neighbors. I took notice of this occurrence again on Sunday night when Beyonce announced her pregnancy live on the VMA’s red carpet. I wasn’t watching the program; I was doing dishes and mopping up water, which leaked from the ceiling during Hurricane Irene. However, my Facebook page lit up with stories about the announcement, along with congratulatory well-wishes, questions about the due date and long threads about what they should name the baby. One person in my network even reported that she had shed tears upon hearing the news. My own reaction to the news was much more simplistic, “Oh that’s nice. I hope her baby is healthy.” Then I went back to mopping the floor.
Immediately after Beyonce and Jigga Man tied the knot, there was constant speculation about when we might expect a bun in the oven. “When?! When?! When are they going to have a baby??!” Seriously, people were asking the question before Beyonce and Jay even had a chance to consummate their marriage. And when Beyonce finally addressed the speculation in an interview that a baby wouldn’t be in her cards – not in the near future anyway – folks responded with outrage and made charges that she was being selfish for denying herself, and more importantly, the world an off-spring. Like, why else would anyone get married if it’s not to procreate, right?
The tide has obviously turned for them. Many of the same folks, who once chastised Beyonce for waiting for motherhood, are rushing to sing the praises of how the couple, but more specifically Beyonce, “did it the right way.” You know, the correct order of things: dating, marriage and then the kid. Never mind that her better half is a 41 year old man, who still grabs his crotch out in public and wears his hat turned backwards. But more to the point, this whole “look at the positive role Bey is setting for young women” conversation, which is now happening around the blogosphere, reeks of Slore-shaming.
Beneath the celebratory “she did it the right way” discussion is an underlining message, which seeks to shame and stigmatize women, who for whatever reason, go in on motherhood alone. Some bloggers see Beyonce’s pregnancy as some sort of triumph over single women, who have gotten pregnant before or outside of marriage. And as such, Beyonce’s baby bump and wedding ring have now become kindling to further flame the existence of these unwed women, who by virtue of their singledom, are obviously failures at motherhood and are incapable of rearing a child with morals and values worthy of society.