Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The trend of exposing the pregnancy bump

Apart from challenging aspects like nausea, ballooning weight, skin break-outs, swollen feet and constant tiredness, pregnancy is a time of happiness for the expectant mother, her partner, family and friends. After all, her body is preparing to bring a human being into the world. It’s a distinctly feminine experience. Nowadays many women choose to celebrate this rite of passage to womanhood by showing off their pregnancy bump.
American actress Demi Moore could be pointed out as the instigator of this trend. In 1991 she appeared half-naked showing off her pregnancy bump on the cover of Vanity Fair international magazine.
In the following years, celebrities like Cindy Crawford, Britney Spears, Beyonce and Kim Kardiashian have also been snapped showing off not only their svelte figures but protruding bun in the oven.
Ordinary, particularly younger woman are seemingly following suit.
International specialist company Venture claims that there is a 60% increase in the number of women visiting their studios to have their pregnant bodies photographed. Venture photographer, Wayne Kahn, says more women are shedding their self-consciousness over their pregnant bellies.
“Women can be shy at first but the majority will show their body as long as it’s done tastefully,” he is quoted as having said.
It seems it’s no longer taboo to show off the pregnant belly. Controversy-riddled South African singer, Kelly Khumalo, who is expecting Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa’s child recently received criticism when she attended an event dressed in a white flowing outfit that exposed her protruding pregnant belly.
Apparently the soccer star, who is currently in the middle of an ugly love triangle with the singer and his legal wife, was also turned off. Although she looked glowing and gorgeous, apparently Senzo as a traditional Zulu man doesn’t approve of Khumalo’s unconventional conduct, especially considering that theirs is an illegitimate child. The singer also has a toddler with jailed hip hop singer, Molemo ‘Jub Jub’ Maaronhanye.
This is the 21st century after all, says Pearl Dioke, and women should celebrate pregnancy freely. When I spot her she is dressed in shorts, a tank top, with stylish wedge sneakers.
Her pregnant belly is peeping from her top. She however refuses to be photographed.
“Pregnancy is a beautiful and unique experience in women and should be celebrated and flaunted. I still wear mini skirts, shorts and flimsy tops. I am not ashamed of my pregnancy or body. I sometimes receive odd stares and comments, especially from older folk. A few weeks ago I attended a funeral in Tlokweng. One old woman openly berated me for wearing a dress she claimed ‘exposed me’. It was a lacy black dress which went up to my knees. Maybe the problem was that it clung to my body,” she says.
Is her partner comfortable with her dress style?
“He’s open-minded and like me doesn’t preoccupy himself with other people’s opinions. Just last month we had fun taking pictures of my pregnant belly. It was a liberating experience. When our child is older we will show him or her, the pictures,” she explains.
“Of course we won’t show them the naked ones,” she adds with a laugh.
However, not everyone accepts this practice in our largely conservative society. Lebo Moeketsi, a former mid-wife and elderly mother of five thinks it’s distasteful.
“I saw pictures of Kelly Khumalo and gagged. Although she’s talented and beautiful, she seems like an attention seeker. Why couldn’t she select a dress that covers her belly? A woman’s body should be seen by her husband only, not the whole world. Now we know that her tummy has a dark line in the middle that goes towards her crotch; what’s that?” she exclaims in evident disgust.
She points out that there are also negative health implications of dressing inappropriately, especially in flimsy items.
“If you get cold you might experience shivers during birth, or suffer womb pains. Pregnancy is a delicate period and a woman should keep warm and covered,” she adds.
Kenneth Moloi* a father of two, is just as critical of the growing trend. “I see it as sexualising pregnancy… Pardon the pun! It also puts pregnant women under pressure to look attractive and alluring which could be exhausting. Personally I would rather my partner dress in conservative maternity wear. I would be unhappy if she went around parading her belly,” he says.
Pregnancy used to be the only time in a woman’s life when she could put up her feet, eat what she wants, worry less about appearance and focus on the creature growing inside her.
Now it’s about trying to be a ‘yummy mummy’. It seems the era of pregnancy being about nursing swollen feet and looking like a hippo is over. Women are bringing sexy back and pregnancy appears to be no exception.


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