Why Is Gawker Endorsing the Beyoncé Birthers?

What Women Really Think
Feb. 19 2013 4:20 PM

No, Gawker, We Don’t Need To See a “Full, Clear Shot” of a Pregnant Beyoncé

122723455
Beyonce shows off the pillow she stuffed under her dress at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles.

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Since the premiere of the HBO documentary Life is But a Dream last weekend, the reaction to the “intimate” peek inside Beyoncé’s life have all hovered close to the same sentiment: she “reveals little,” offers only a “fleeting glimpse” of her life, and “refuses to get messy” in her struggle for perfection. But while most critics were left to wonder whether they’d ever see the “real” woman within Beyoncé—whoever that may be—the folks over at Gawker have suggested that we will never know the truth about the real woman supposedly behind Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s daughter, Blue Ivy.

In a bizarre effort to throw his hat into the ring of the Beyoncé birther movement, which revolves around the conspiracy theory that Beyoncé was never actually pregnant and instead hired a surrogate to grow her a baby, Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak writes of the movie: "We never see a full, clear shot of Beyoncé's pregnant, swanlike body. Instead it's presented in pieces, owing to the limitations of her Mac webcam. When her body is shown in full, it's in grainy, black and white footage in which her face is shadowed."

Advertisement

Juzwiak thinks that, in the face of surrogate rumors, Beyoncé presents the evidence of her pregnancy “too weirdly.” But what’s “weird”—and gross—is the fact that Juzwiak feels as though he is entitled to a glimpse of a woman’s pregnant (and presumably naked) figure, just so we can confirm that the woman was indeed pregnant. (It’s preposterous enough that Beyoncé felt she had to address the gossip at all—she calls it the most “ridiculous” rumor about her thus far.) It appears that after years of celebrity moms posing nude while with-child, some people have come to expect that such images are not just a trend, they’re de rigueur. Or worse yet, necessary evidence because of course most people go around lying about their pregnancies just as they do their birth certificates.  

It doesn’t help that Juzwiak’s accusatory tone (“her supposedly pregnant self …”) was further endorsed by Jezebel writer Tracie Egan Morrissey’s in the post’s comments:  

When she said, "being pregnant was very much like falling in love…" and talked about how it was "fun" I was like, that is something that a person who imagines what pregnancy is like would say. Pregnancy is not fun. You're tired all the time and your back hurts and you pee your pants and get excess saliva and bloody boogers and pimples with their own pulse and leukemia farts. And you can't eat bleu cheese.

What Juzwiak and Morrissey don’t seem to consider is that perhaps Beyoncé doesn’t sound totally authentic when talking about her pregnancy because she’s still reluctant to reveal too much about certain portions of her life. You can think that makes her documentary project a fraud, but it’s a leap to then assume it also makes her pregnancy one. And while she may be more than willing to prove herself professionally, family life is a very different story. “If you’re lucky and fortunate enough to [experience pregnancy], people should have boundaries,” Beyoncé says to the camera at one point in the movie. “There’s certain things you just shouldn’t play around with. And a child, you don’t play around with that.”

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 16 2014 5:47 PM Tale of Two Fergusons We knew blacks and whites saw Michael Brown’s killing differently. A new poll shows the gulf that divides them is greater than anyone guessed.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 5:07 PM One Comedy Group Has the Perfect Idea for Ken Burns’ Next Project
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.