The Problem With Saying Mila Kunis Is "Flaunting Her Baby Bump"

Photo: Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock.
Earlier this week, Mila Kunis was out and about, living her life, getting her nails done and having lunch, probably per usual. But something is different about the Bad Moms actress as of late: She is pregnant with her second child. Congrats, mazels, etc.

Apart from the fact that the Kunis-Kutcher family will have a new addition sometime in the near future, there is another result of her expecting status. Media outlets are going to town commenting on her "baby bump," also known as her stomach, an anatomical zone that was, until recently, just part of her body. But until delivery, it will be seen by many as an accessory that she has chosen to show off whenever she leaves her home.

Here are just a few things that were said about Kunis' bump this week: It made its debut. It was shown off, as well as flaunted, and then flaunted again. To hear the headlines tell it, the 32-year-old is brandishing her expanding waistline to evoke jealousy in all who might behold it.

In reality: We doubt that. But women's media — and especially celebrity coverage — has long had this problem of addressing pregnancy in a way that's sexist, degrading, and frankly just inaccurate. Pregnant moms may be proud and aglow in their journey to motherhood (or they may just as well be feeling nauseous), but that doesn't mean they're showing off: They just happen to be showing, because that's what happens when you're growing a baby inside your body.

"Flaunting" and "showing off" are not accurate verbs to describe what a pregnant woman is doing when she is out running errands, or at any other time for that matter. On top of that, both "flaunt" and "show off" necessarily suggest the intention of inspiring jealousy, which I suspect is the last thing on an expectant mom's mind at any given moment. Those words are also problematic for another reason: They presume that other women might be envious of the bump itself, which is both silly and regressive. Not everyone sees a woman in her second or third trimester and immediately hears the green-eyed monster whispering in her ear. But that's the implicit suggestion behind the phrase "flaunts her baby bump" — that the rest of us are just itching for one of our own.

Don't even get me started on why we need a moratorium on the twee and overly familiar descriptor "baby bump," which effectively disassociates a woman from a part of her anatomy while also making her sound like a Teletubby. So how should we refer to pregnant celebrities? Here's an idea: Maybe we continue to talk about their accomplishments and actions even when they are expecting, instead of focusing attention on their bodies.

Come to think of it, that's a pretty good rule of thumb to follow for talking about women in general.
It's your body. It's your summer. Enjoy them both. Check out more #TakeBackTheBeach here.

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