Is there something in the water? It feels like pregnancy is everywhere and a baby bump has become the new must-have accessory. It used to be those tiny dogs that fit effortlessly into handbags, but now baby bumps are “it.” Maybe it’s because Ashlee Simpson, Jennifer Garner and Minnie Driver are all on the cusp of giving birth, or because recent mom Jamie Lynn Spears (17-year-old sister of Britney) has been on every cover of every magazine in the checkout line since last September.
Pregnancy has even been a topic in our presidential election. In case you’ve missed it, Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s daughter is 17 and pregnant. The news of this has brought to the table a debate on the glamorization of pregnancy in Hollywood.
I admit, I’ve never had to walk into a pharmacy for a pregnancy kit (mainly because I’m, you know, totally gay), so the idea of being pregnant was never a real fear of mine. I can say with certitude, however, that I have seen movies about pregnant women and (regardless of the biological impossibility that I could ever unintentionally or intentionally get pregnant by my girlfriend) none of them made me hanker for a baby belly or think that what I really wanted in my closet was a pair of maternity jeans all because the movie Juno was so darnn funny.
Whether the character had an unplanned pregnancy or was aching to become “with child,” I looked at the recent boom of pregnancy-themed films like Juno with the more optimistic attitude that Hollywood isn’t glamorizing the characters’ pregnancy but empowering the characters that are pregnant. Women in these movies take charge of what is happening in their lives, and along the way we have a few laughs while they do so.
Young girls are smarter than society gives them credit for. I don’t think they walk out of movies like Knocked Up saying, “Hey, that movie was funny. I think I want to get knocked up too, just like that Katherine Heigl.” I think they are aware that there is always that underlying message in these movies: Pregnancy is a major consequence of unprotected sex. The lesson is always clear that if you are 17 or 37 and are going to be sexually active, you should educate and prepare yourself for the possible outcomes of your decision-making.
That PSA out of the way for all our heterosexual readers, I thought we would take a look at a few of the recent movies about pregnancy that made us smile.
It may have been a bit of stretch that a success-driven woman like Alison (Heigl) would settle down with an oaf like Ben (Seth Rogen) after a one-night stand, but regardless of its realism, Knocked Up made me laugh. (And contrary to glamorization, I thought that the birthing scene in that film serves as a really good form of contraception.)
Who knew pregnancy could be so snarky? Juno didn’t make me want to experience labor pains as much as it made me want to buy an assortment of hooded sweatshirts and, yes, a burgerphone. (The eBay search continues.)
Pregnancy is very intentional in this comedy starring AfterEllen.com hottie Tina Fey and the hilarious Amy Poehler. Too bad these characters couldn’t have just fallen in love with each other and then no matter who the baby’s mama was, they could all live happily ever after. (And yes, every movie does have to have a lesbian ending in order to make me truly happy.)
Keri Russell plays a woman who is pregnant and not happy about it because her home life is a mess. Jenna (Russell) works at a diner and bakes unique pies with ingredients that are all influenced by her life. Through her journal entries and pie making, she slowly warms up to her inconvenient pregnancy.
I know this movie hasn’t even been released yet and it’s presumptive to place it on the list and assume it will make you smile, but I am willing to take that chance. And since we are being so candid with one another, I should also let you know that the main character isn’t exactly even “pregnant,” she just pretends to be. In the film, Lindsay Lohan plays an assistant to her boss, played by Chris Parnell. When he tries to fire Lindsay’s character, she lies and tells him that she is pregnant so that he can’t terminate her. Her web of lies gets further complicated when her office pals throw her a baby shower, and then she somehow ends up on a talk show with Janeane Garofalo playing the host.
I can’t lie, I would totally fake a baby belly too if it would mean I could sit down and chat with Janeane.
Here is a peek at the trailer:
It’s not surprising to learn that women wrote three of these five films. (Adrienne Shelly wrote Waitress, Diablo Cody wrote Juno and Stacey Kramer and Lara Shapiro wrote Labor Pains.) These women helped to take hold of the taboos of unplanned pregnancy and made us laugh at them, which I think is pretty cool.
Do you think that these films or any others glamorize pregnancy for young people?