I recently had a conversation with some colleagues about how women in Hollywood are perceived by the media and that led to a discussion on how harsh their criticism is especially on pregnant women. In an age where women should have more rights, somehow, they are still dissected into how they look and a lot of that had to do with weight.
We would like to think that Hollywood has moved past this sort of discrimination, but it really hasn't. There are still actresses out there who have to hide their pregnancies like it's some big shameful secret.
Women in Hollywood are constantly shamed for their weight, if they gain a pound there are articles claiming they're pregnant, like poor Jennifer Aniston, there's at least one pregnancy rumour a month! Why is Hollywood so obsessed with their bodies? Why can't they just leave them alone?
Pregnancy should be an exciting and magical time, but women in Hollywood have not been awarded that luxury, instead their news is met scrutiny and concern, not for the pregnant actresses, but for the film schedule. It’s no secret that Hollywood lacks some humanity, but it’s shocking that women today are made to feel like failures if they don’t bounce back from pregnancy immediately. The pressures of Hollywood are mighty and here are only 15 stories about the discrimination still going on today!
15 Duff Fired
When Hilary Duff became pregnant with son Luca she never expected to lose the role of a lifetime. The role was that of Bonnie Parker from the coveted Bonnie and Clyde remake set to film months before she gave birth. The studio stated, "if we could wait we would" which seemed like an excuse to her fans who quickly put two and two together and attacked the studio online for discriminating against pregnant Duff.
Many stated that any studio could wait if they wanted to, they've put projects on hold for many actors before, and they also have the ability to hide the bump with clothing and the use of special effects. There's no excuse to make the bump an issue. Luckily, Duff has a good head on her shoulders and didn’t stress about it, instead she chose to celebrate the wonderful news and enjoy every moment.
14 Killed Off Wuhrer's Character
Kari Wuhrer was an actress on the soap General Hospital, until of course producers caught wind of her pregnancy. Her character didn’t last very long as Kari claims that once producers found out she was pregnant they quickly decided to write her off the show! In court she went as far as to state that the network and soap operas in general still held this anti-pregnancy stance which forced actresses to either leave or terminate their pregnancies.
Wuhrer also stated that another former actress from the show was also written off in the same manner due to her pregnancy. ABC's explanation for her termination wasn't really much better, they stated that Kari was let go because she wasn't "sexy" and that "she had no chemistry with her character's love interest Sonny Corinthos." Ouch!
13 Heavy Kardashian
Kim Kardashian has been dragged through the media mud plenty of times for her pregnancy weight gain and all I can do is feel sick to my stomach about it. I honestly felt she looked nothing short of miraculous each time the cameras were on her. You would never even have known how difficult her pregnancies were because she had an image to keep up, and she continued to look glamourous throughout her pain. And the media has a hand in that pressure.
The media bashed Kim for being too heavy, one image even comparing her look to a whale, yes you read that right! How awful! They even mentioned she wore all the wrong things, such as shoes that cut off circulation to her swollen feet. Newsflash, feet get swollen, lots of things get swollen during pregnancy! Back off!
12 Hunter Tylo's Violated Contract
Hunter Tylo won herself a large lumpsum when she took on Spelling Entertainment for firing her from Melrose Place due to her pregnancy. Spelling Entertainment tried to claim that Tylo had "violated her contract" when she became pregnant and so Cortez Smit fired her, stating she could not fulfil her contractual duties to play the "sex vixen" on the show, which is what they hired her for.
They also mentioned that being pregnant would prevent her from appearing "sexy" on screen, hence the firing. Tylo fought for her rights, knowing full well she had every right to start a family whenever she liked and it’s not as if she couldn’t still play the role! It was more about not wanting to accommodate her. She won the suit and 5 million dollars along with it!
11 Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Big Fat Joke
So how did some of your favourite shows cover up that bump? Some of them wrote the pregnancy into the show, while others simply went with, "well, so and so got fat!" When Julia Louis-Dreyfus became pregnant, Jerry Seinfeld threw around the idea of making the season about Elaine getting fat, he thought it would be funny but Dreyfus burst into tears, calling it a "death sentence".Instead they decided to give Elaine quirky oversized coats and a trip away with her boyfriend. Going into the 5th season of Mad Men, January Jones revealed she was pregnant and dealt the "fat" card as well, they even exaggerated her weight gain with prosthetics which made her feel even more uncomfortable with her body. It seems if they can’t find a way to write in the baby bump, then you become the punchline to a terrible joke.
10 Petite Panettiere
Mental illness is certainly a big topic for discussion these days, mainly because people were made to feel so ashamed of it before, especially in Hollywood. Hayden Panettiere suffered greatly at the hands of postpartum depression after having her baby and I'm sure Hollywood did nothing to help that. The tiny actress was shamed for putting a lot of weight on her small frame during her pregnancy. The photos above of Panettiere in a two-piece swimsuit was what sparked the tirade of body shaming, saying the weight gain was absurd, even calling her gigantic, and not at all proportional.Well, I'm not sure if the media knew that most weight goes towards the belly during pregnancy, just saying, "proportional"? What does that even mean in this case? I'm not sure that word applies to pregnancy!
9 Jessica's Career Is Over?
Jessica has been unfairly ridiculed in the media, she dropped a bunch of weight due to the pressures of Hollywood, you may remember her being told she had to lose weight to fit into those Daisy Dukes and that role! The role made Jessica an overnight sex symbol but when she got pregnant and gained weight, Hollywood turned their back on the bombshell of a star. So, what? Pregnancy isn't sexy? Excuse you Hollywood!
Jessica was pregnant with baby number one and soon after, pregnant with baby number two, her kids only being 14 months apart. The media slammed her for not reaching post baby weight quickly enough! What Jessica experienced during her pregnancy was nothing short of bullying, but somehow Hollywood gets away with that? Even claiming that Jessica Simpson’s career was over!
8 Saldana's Inconvenient Pregnancy
The actress of blockbuster's such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek and Avatar, had no idea that her pregnancy would pose such a problem! Zoe Saldana confessed that her pregnancy almost got her fired by a Hollywood studio and she was in complete disbelief and shock about it! She heard through the grapevine that they had a "panic attack" when they found out that she was expecting; one of the projects she was signed to even discussed writing her off of a project due to the pregnancy!Saldana was rightfully offended, stating that she was finally super happy and excited and that it was inconvenient for their schedule was simply absurd! She's now become an advocate for equal pay in Hollywood, bringing to light the amounts of cash studios throw at male actors for hotels, parties, yachts and when women ask for more money to pay for nannies to help with their crazy schedules studios say "nope, we don't pay for nannies."
7 Nasty Gal's Mass Layoffs
There was a highly publicized lawsuit against Nasty Gal back in 2015 where employees claimed that three pregnant women were fired as well as one man about to take some time off for paternity leave. You may know the fashion empire because you've shopped at it, or perhaps you recognize the name from the autobiography #GirlBoss or the Netflix show of the same name. There's no question that the name is famous now, and you would hope a strong business woman would be an advocate for all women.
These firings occurred during the time of some company restructuring where 10% of the staff were laid off. Those fired felt targeted because of their need for time off due to family reasons. Nasty Gal denies the claims have any merit and that it was simply coincidence.
6 Pataky's Unattractive Belly?
How anyone can refer to Elsa Pataky's baby bump as a "beer belly" is beyond me, yet the hosts of the Fashion Police did just that! Chris Hemsworth's wife was carrying their twins in the photo taken above at the Academy Awards. The judges decided that the dress was a fashion don't, even stating that she looks "huge" in that dress. I'm not sure why fashion has to turn into body shaming, why not just stick to talking about the dress instead of the belly?
Poor Elsa Pataky was probably already feeling ultra uncomfortable in her skin, as many pregnant women do, and increasingly uncomfortable because she's carrying two tiny humans! I think she looked stunning! These fashion shows seem like a big step backwards for women in Hollywood, because it still reduces them to how they look over how they are as people.
5 Sickly Skinny Dutchess Kate
The media was really baffled by Princess Kate's pregnancy, where was the bump? Why was she still so skinny? It's so odd, you're either too big or too small when pregnant, the media always has something to say about someone else’s body. The awful media even created a term for Kate's pregnancy look, calling her condition "Pregorexia", a combination of anorexia and pregnancy, almost poking fun at both situations, neither of which seems all that funny or fun!
Kate was even shamed for being so trim after giving birth. Tabloids read “How does she do it?” and “How is it possible?” They even went as far to say she starves herself. It’s painful to see Kate reduced to just a skinny baby making royal, she’s so much more and yet that’s all the media seems to focus on.
4 Fox On Blast
To say that Fox Entertainment is controversial is an understatement at the very least. It seems that Fox tends to make the headlines for all the wrong reasons and maybe they truly believe that there's no such thing as bad publicity; I mean they are still around aren't they? Fox faced quite the backlash when they fired a man from taking time off to help out his sick wife. He admitted that they began to treat him differently at work when his leave was approved.The couple had just had their first child and his wife was suffering from severe postpartum depression. He wanted to be there for his family. Upon returning from his leave he was fired and then later sued for wrongful termination. As much as women are discriminated against in Hollywood, it seems men are also in the same boat if they choose family over studio.
3 Hidden Wonder Bump
Did you know that Gal Godot was pregnant for most of the filming of Wonder Woman? It was something she hid during the filming, perhaps due to fear of losing the part, which truly belonged to her no matter what. She was born to play Wonder Woman! She hid her morning sickness and migraines and just focused on the work.
Gal Godot admitted she was worried about being treated differently on set if she spoke out about her pregnancy, so it was only when she started showing that she confirmed the news. Luckily, they were more receptive and even came up with clever ways to hide the bump during the reshoots required later on. She sure is a Wonder Woman if she can do all that while pregnant! She hopes one day to make gender a non-issue.
2 Lucas Film Lawsuit
Lucas Film was faced with an accusation of pregnancy discrimination a few years back and they when sued, they lost, having to pay out the employee who felt wrongfully terminated. What happened was that one of their staff was asked to relocate, which he did with a pay increase as well as offered medical benefits abroad. While away, his wife became pregnant and when her pregnancy became "medically difficult" the man was mysteriously let go, with $41,000 of his pay being withheld!
While pregnant, it was discovered that his wife had Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a rare connective-tissue disease that can lead to a high-risk pregnancy among other things. Sadly, this is not the first lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination that Lucas Film has lost. The man had worked with the studio for over a decade, so it's a very sad end to a history of loyalty.
1 Who's Mindy's Baby Daddy?
Last but certainly not least is the case of one Mindy Kaling, a successful woman made fun of for being eternally single that she turned it on its head and made it into a joke and an entire show, too! A successful one at that! The Mindy Project may have started as a way for Mindy to breakthrough in Hollywood and display women of colour in a lead role, she's a pioneer on so many levels, yet people still judge her because she's unmarried and without kids?
She's constantly asked who are you with, when do you plan on having kids, even though there's more to ways to be successful it seems Hollywood is still obsessed with old world values. Now that Mindy has confirmed her pregnancy, I feel bad that she's bombarded with "who's the father?" Another question that is absolutely no one's business but Hollywood just has to know, don't they?
Sources: Parents.com, DailyMail.co.uk, NYTimes.com, CNN.com, FastCompany.com, EFE.com, HollywoodReporter.com, jhvOnline.com, Vulture.com