Do not ever shame a black woman for announcing her pregnancy.
The world feels exceptionally shitty. Given that I am only 28, my experience is limited, but this is as gloomy as I’ve ever known the world to feel. I haven’t been able to write much because I’ve been tired and afraid for over two weeks.
But then, for a miraculous 24 hours or so, I was happy! We were happy! Why? Because Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter announced that she is pregnant with twins! TWINS. She didn’t do it in a boring, pedestrian way, no. She gave us a glorious photoshoot to share and adore.
Of course we can’t enjoy anything on this dumpster-fuck planet, because not hours later came tweets and posts criticizing people for being happy. Apparently we’re not allowed to simultaneously enjoy good news while being fully aware of how many of us are going to be affected by a Trump presidency.
Of course we can’t enjoy anything on this dumpster-fuck planet.
Pushing that bull-shittery aside, instead of being happy for Beyoncé and her Beybies, I came across three different think pieces about the announcement by salty white women who decided it was ok to criticize:
- The way she announced her pregnancy.
- The fact that she did announce her pregnancy.
- That she looked amazing in her pregnancy photoshoot.
Let’s address the first one, because the name of the person who wrote it is Rebecca. Yes, BECKY called Bey’s series of beautiful photos “tacky” and “gaudy.” Granted, she was “ok with that,” but being the pasty Becky that she is, she completely missed the point and didn’t understand the Yoruba and Tarot influences and themes of the shoot — proving once again that if you’re going to publish pieces about black culture, hire a black writer to do it.
For the second piece, Leandra Medine, founder of the fashion blog The Man Repeller, decided to project her own insecurities about not being pregnant onto Beyoncé, who in the past has admitted to suffering a miscarriage. She goes on to explain that we should remain “humble” and think about who we might be hurting with the announcement of our good news. I need to break down this particular piece and how it is more harmful than it seems:
- Black women do not have the same relationship with maternity as white women do. Why? Years of systemic racism, chattel slavery, and white supremacy, and because negative portrayals of black motherhood are pervasive in American culture.
- Pregnancies and labor tend to be riskier for black women because of systemic racism within health care, and the lack of access to good maternity care pre and post labor.
- While many white women fought for reproductive rights, black, latinx, and native women were fighting for reproductive justice as a result of forced sterilizations and eugenics programs in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
So do not ever shame a black woman for announcing her pregnancy simply because you feel as if it is a personal attack. Let black women celebrate maternity and pregnancy.
The third piece I came across is just as bad as the other two: “Hey Beyonce, as a mum of four let me tell you this isn’t what pregnancy looks like.” Yeah. Ok. Rosie Millard, another salty white woman, decided to shame Beyoncé for looking amazing. According to her, Demi Moore’s pregnancy photo was ok, but Bey’s isn’t because it’s not as approachable.
If you’re going to publish pieces about black culture, hire a black writer to do it.
Listen, Rosie. Stop with the internalized misogyny. Pregnancy looks different and is different for every single woman. Some women experience acne during pregnancy, some don’t. Stretch marks are a thing for some, and not others. Some women are aware of this amazing thing called shea butter, while others aren’t.
But honestly, take a seat, not everyone looks like Beyoncé and you really just sound jealous as shit.
I’m going to need white women to shut the fuck up with critiques relating to black women and pregnancy in general. When it comes to the Beyoncé and the artistry of those photographs, your whiteness and lack of awareness kept you from understanding the cultural references and the importance of Oshun. I don’t expect you to understand, but I honestly need you to stop and break down why misogynoir seems to be a pervasive theme for your shitty think pieces.
This story orginally appeared on Lara Witt’s personal Medium page.
All images from beyonce.com.