Another day, another Kardashian pregnancy rumor. This time, the person at the center of the speculation is Kourtney Kardashian, who some fans believe is having a baby with her boyfriend, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker.
Kardashian attempted to shut down the gossip in an Aug. 12 Instagram post of herself showing off her closet and stomach. When a follower declared in the comments section “SHE’S PREGNANT,” the Poosh founder clapped back with, “I’m a woman with a BODY.”
Kardashian, who shares three children with her ex Scott Disick, is not the first person to be wounded by pregnancy rumors. Taylor Swift, who first opened up about her eating disorder in the 2020 documentary Miss Americana, spoke to Variety about how hurtful pregnancy rumors were to her body image at a time when she was already vulnerable.
“The headline was like ‘Pregnant at 18?’ And it was because I had worn something that made my lower stomach look not flat,” she explained. “So I just registered that as a punishment.”
In 2016, Jennifer Aniston also hit back at the endless pregnancy rumors, telling the Huffington Post, “I resent being made to feel ‘less than’ because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: ‘pregnant’ or ‘fat.'”
Virgie Tovar, body-positive influencer, author of the forthcoming The Body Positive Journal and host of the Rebel Eaters Club podcast, explains that the obsession over whether our favorite stars are pregnant or not comes from women being “socialized that it’s totally acceptable to comment on women’s bodies.”
“When it comes to asking a woman whether she’s pregnant, there’s a dimension of fatphobia involved,” she explains to Yahoo Life over email. “The real question is: Is your body temporarily enlarged beyond your control or are you fat? Asking someone if they’re pregnant has long been a childish way of delivering a veiled insult that can easily be denied as innocent inquiry. It’s not innocent because the insult delivery relies on the bigoted belief that being a higher weight person is negative and undesirable.”
Dr. Sherry Ross, an ob/gyn, author of She-ology and co-founder URJA Intimates skin care, tells Yahoo Life, “Our personal perception of our body image, for better or for worse, can be negatively impacted when asked if we are pregnant, especially when we are not. Assuming an obese woman is pregnant reinforces critical stereotypes about overweight people.”
Yet the question can be hurtful even if a person is actively trying to become pregnant.
“Infertility can cause anxiety, stress, depression and feelings of hopelessness for a woman,” Ross adds. “For this dedicated group of women, they know all too well the highs and lows of trying unsuccessfully to conceive. If a woman suffering from infertility is asked if she is pregnant, it can bring up issues of failure, inadequacy, shame and despair.”
While some people may feel justified in correctly identifying if someone is pregnant, announcing the news prematurely also comes with problems.
“It’s a personal decision to announce to others that you are pregnant,” Ross explains. “It should be announced on your terms and your terms only. Sharing the news with others, including family and friends, should be decided upon together.”
The bottom line? Until someone publicly announces their pregnancy, the speculation is wholly unnecessary — and unkind.