This morning, it was reported
that Kim Kardashian and husband Kanye West are expecting their fourth child, who will be delivered via surrogate
Like anyone who makes the decision to get pregnant, Kim and Kanye have every reason to celebrate their soon-to-be baby. Add the fact that Kim underwent two high-risk pregnancies and routinely discusses her fertility struggles, and you have to imagine she's bouncing off the walls happy about the new Kardashian-West family member. After all, she completely gushes over their youngest daughter, Chicago, who was delivered via surrogate in Jan. 2018.
But people online are already ruining this happy moment. And their criticism
has bigger implications than hurting Kim or Kanye's feelings (which is still obviously super not chill! Celebrities don't owe you anything!); it's openly shaming hosts of people who have kids at "inappropriate" times in "inappropriate" ways. Let's break this down.
Like many women who deliver children via surrogate, Kim is being criticized for having children in an "unnatural way."
Twitter is throwing around the condescending term "designer baby" almost as much as they're throwing around criticism of Kim being "excessive" by having a child intentionally. One tweet
even compared her having a child to adopting a dog, saying: "adopt, don't shop."
It's pretty obvious why this kind of language is harmful to all women who have kids via surrogate (or women who struggle with fertility and find other ways to have children). To suggest that one kind of pregnancy
is natural and positive while another is "excessive" and "unnatural" is ableist (it literally judges the worth of a woman's experience by the ability of her body to do something).
Not only that, but isn't feminism
about supporting other women in the choices that make them happy? If that's motherhood for Kim or for any women out there, shouldn't we respect
that? This kind of talk doesn't empathize at all with women who want kids because it makes them happy, or because it's what they wanted with their life.
Additionally, this kind of discourse definitely doesn't empathize at all with women who were raised in a society that often (even still) measures their womanhood by their ability to have children. The ability to have children can be incredibly important to women who have transitioned, women who have fertility struggles and feel less "womanly" as a result, and women who don't have any obligation to tell you why they want to get pregnant, thanks!
Similarly, Kanye is being criticized for having a child because he's... mentally ill?
A host of tweets suggest that Kanye's "instability
" or "erratic behavior" make him an unfit father. One tweet
even theorizes that "getting Kanye mental health treatment should be the utmost priority," as though the author of that tweet is Kanye West's personal chief of staff and/or mother and/or therapist and/or has any working knowledge of his personal life and personal health.
This discourse isn't just wildly disrespectful to Kanye (who even I can admit is completely unbearable on Twitter): it's ableist and it's based on two completely incorrect assumptions. First, that people with mental illness are either "healthy" or "unhealthy." And secondly, that only "healthy" people with mental illness can be good parents or are of interpersonal value.
Plenty of parents have mental illness. Plenty of good
parents have mental illness. Having depression or anxiety
or bipolar disorder or schizophrenia does not automatically toss someone into the bad parent pool. And to suggest so is incredibly harmful to people who people who are already likely to experience guilt for not being the "typical" parent; just like shaming women who have children via surrogate shames people who are already likely to experience bad feelings for not having the "typical" pregnancy experience.
Is a large part of the critique of Kim and Kanye about economics or climate change? Absolutely.
I believe some people question their decision to spend money on bringing more children into the world amidst terrible global poverty, overpopulation, etc. However, I also believe that people are much more offended by their choice to have another child than they are offended by their decision to fly private jets around the world and drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on Birkin bags because sexism
and ableism are very
real. And because, obviously, having a kid is way less sexy than dressing up in Versace, then throwing it away. Or a Rolls Royce that gets about 6 miles to the gallon.