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Naked and pregnant

Everyone from Cindy Crawford to Christina Aguillera has done it. Ever since Demi Moore appeared naked and seven months pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991, it’s been a common trend for celebrities to pose for nude photos when they’re expecting. This week, Miranda Kerr has joined the hall of fame and stripped down to show off her six-and-a-half-months-pregnant body for the cover of W magazine.

And she looks incredible. They say that pregnant women glow, but she is utterly radiant. There is something almost ethereal about her in this photograph, and it makes even me (someone who generally can’t help but see pregnancy as something kind of horrifying and gross) see the complete beauty of the female body in this natural state.

In a way, I can see how wonderful it is that these women are celebrating their pregnant bodies, putting their essential womanliness out on display. On the other hand, it’s easy to see how such images could put even more pressure on women to look a certain way.

Seeing Miranda Kerr looking like a goddess even when she’s 6 months pregnant can be a little depressing. Most women don’t look like Miranda Kerr when they’re pregnant, for the simple reason that most women are not size 6 David Jones models. And, perhaps more to the point, most women don’t have a whole crew of makeup and lighting experts on hand to make them look so breathtakingly flawless in a photograph. Images like this could easily make women- pregnant or not- feel hopelessly inferior.

Still, if we can accept it as a fantasy image, and admire it for the beauty it projects, if not necessarily the reality of pregnancy, I think it’s a really lovely picture. And I think it captures something quite beautiful about femininity, whether it’s real or not.

So what do you think? Is this a positive celebration of womanliness? Or is it yet another unattainable standard of beauty?

2 thoughts on “Naked and pregnant

  1. My thoughts about pregnant women being photographed naked has mostly been one of nonchalance. The points you raise about it potentially being just another image that women might feel pressured to aspire to is one I had never really considered before, probably because I’ve never been pregnant, but it’s definitely worth considering. It’s a different body shape, but these are nonetheless celebrities and models who have a veritable crew to make them look this way, not to mention the airbrushing. Where are the stretch marks, I ask??!

    On the other hand, setting aside all the unrealistic ideals, as a lover of photography, I think this photo of Miranda Kerr is a really beautiful shot. I often think that we’d all be a lot better off if we appreciated modelling in this way a little more. Although the media does need to be accountable for the beauty ideals they’re perpetuating, wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to flip through a magazine and appreciate a photographer’s skill and a model’s beauty without feeling inferior? Sure, it would likely entail using models of all different shapes and sizes (including pregnant ones!) and that’s where we still have a long way to go, but I don’t personally have any gripes with looking at the image of Kerr and thinking it’s wonderful, even whilst knowing that I’ll never look that good whilst with child.

  2. My first thought was: gosh she’s skinny for a pregnant chick! And that’s not necessarily a good thing for mum or bub… but never mind. I’m not her doctor – how would I know?

    But mostly, I just love any representations of pregnant women. I was lucky – I loved (just about) every minute of being pregnant, and I especially loved my pregnant body. I’m still coming to terms with my body post-pregnancy, but at the time, it was awesome.

    I wish we saw more positively pregnant women in popular culture. With or without airbrushing/makeup/awesome lighting.

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