Why the pregnancy speculation around Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga is dangerous

Why the pregnancy speculation around Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga is dangerous

Sigh. In today’s edition of ‘people are still really obsessed with women’s bodies’, we need to talk about the recent social media frenzy surrounding Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga – all centred around whether or not the women are pregnant. Yes, seriously.

Both were pictured simply not having an entirely flat abdomen – Taylor while performing during her Eras tour and Lady Gaga at her sister’s wedding with a paparazzi’s telescopic lens – and apparently this was seen as an open invitation for the world to question and discuss their fertility status.

TikTok and Instagram quickly became dominated by frenzied speculation about the famous women, with even medical professionals giving their opinion: ‘Is Taylor Swift pregnant? An OBGYN weighs in’ was the title of one video.

Taylor hasn’t addressed the rumours about herself but she has shared a message of support for fellow singer Lady Gaga, who denied the speculation in a TikTok video while referring to a lyric from Taylor’s song ‘Down Bad’: “Not pregnant. Just down bad cryin’ at the gym,” she wrote in the caption. Taylor rushed to the comments to defend the star: “Can we all agree that it’s invasive & irresponsible to comment on a woman’s body. Gaga doesn’t owe anyone an explanation & neither does any woman.”

Spot on. The constant and often very public judgement of women’s bodies is totally unacceptable. It reeks of misogyny – I think we can all agree that body shaming disproportionately affects women and girls – and fatphobia. And, crucially, it’s dangerous. We know the negative impact that body shaming has on an individual: it has been shown to exacerbate and even lead to mental health issues including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and body dysmorphia.

What makes this current situation even more sinister is the fact that Taylor has been vocal about the effect that judgement about her appearance has had on her mental health. During an interview with Variety in 2020, she addressed how a tabloid once claimed that she was pregnant as a teenager.

“I remember how, when I was 18, that was the first time I was on the cover of a magazine,” she said. “And the headline was like ‘Pregnant at 18?’ And it was because I had worn something that made my lower stomach look not flat. So I just registered that as a punishment.” In her documentary Miss Americana, she also talked about struggling with an eating disorder, admitting that there have been times when she’s seen “a picture of me where I feel like I looked like my tummy was too big, or… someone said that I looked pregnant… and that’ll just trigger me to just starve a little bit – just stop eating.”

Similarly, albeit much less recently, Gaga revealed her battle with bulimia. Back in 2012, while speaking at a conference for pupils in LA, she admitted she used to ‘throw up all the time in high school’, but ‘it made my voice bad, so I had to stop. The acid on your vocal cords – it’s very bad.’

In apparent solidarity of their shared experience, in January 2023, Gaga reacted to a resurfaced clip of Taylor talking about her eating disorder, shared by a fan account on TikTok. “That’s really brave everything you said 🖤 wow”, she wrote.

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