The 59th Annual Grammy Awards will go down in history as the mother of all performances. For the magical Beyonce act.
The journey to motherhood must be celebrated. From Kareena Kapoor Khan working through her pregnancy to Shweta Salve documenting her pregnancy through mesmerising photoshoots and raising the bar for bump-photography, to Carol Gracias walking the ramp and now Beyonce taking it a step ahead with a live performance at the awards show, our celebs are making pregnancy look beautiful and normal. Unlike a disease.
But, what the celebs do forget to tell us is that terms and conditions apply. And, just like a disclaimer on television when a dangerous sport is performed by a trained sportsperson, pregnancy portrayals by celebs must come with plenty of warnings.
Beyonce's hair-raising, gravity-defying chair-tip moment sent shivers down my spine and as breathtakingly beautiful, suave and magical she looked in her entire performance, for that one moment, I prayed no other pregnant woman ever risked so much for an award show. Instantly, I was a mother first and a feminist fighting for equal rights later.
She was a goddess on stage, literally. Oshun, the Yoruba deity, Mami Wata, the Virgin Mary and all else. Not just because her act was inspired by them but because she looked one on stage.
She undoubtedly set the stage ablaze and the twitterati in a frenzy, but she managed to enrage every atom of motherhood in me. Despite the applaud-worthy performance, I had some valid questions in my head, making me so nauseous that I had to instantly ask Siri for support.
How much is too much during pregnancy and many such combinations and permutations on safe pregnancy were read over and over again to understand what made Beyonce do what she did?
And the question hence, how far will celebs go to attain the nirvana of celebrityhood? How much self-glorification would satiate their stardom? How many mentions, followers, retweets, news stories, and gold is enough?
Back in 2013, an eight-months pregnant Lea Ann-Ellison was photographed lifting barbells and it stirred a debate on how intense workouts during pregnancy may be a little dangerous after all. Citing biological references and medical viewpoints, many people agreed on the health benefits of exercising through pregnancy but there were no takers for pregnant scuba divers. And rightly so.
Just like we have pregnant corporate working women, we have acrobats, we have swimmers, we have celebs and we have househelps, we have pregnant women across professions. And, while it is perfectly normal to work through pregnancies, there are safety norms and health hazards that one cannot ignore.
The question being the necessity to perform logistically complicated and dangerous acts risking pregnancy. If models on the ramp can have nip-slips and wardrobe malfunctions, what makes a pregnant Beyonce overconfident of her safety while performing her nine-minute act on stage?
Normalising a healthy pregnancy is definitely the need of the hour, but overstepping boundaries to fulfil overambitious goals in an attempt of self-glorification is a dangerous path. Dangerous not only for the pregnancy but as an example to the millions of people who would consider it normal.
Because, just like the fad diets that our celebs follow and those that the lesser mortals must not mimic, on-screen and off-screen, they have a brigade of dieticians, doctors, therapists and trainers monitoring them. Something that a lot of pregnant women may not have. Hence, setting unachievable goals for the non-celebrities may be treacherous by leaps and bounds.
|Beyonce undoubtedly set the stage ablaze and the twitterati in a frenzy, but she managed to enrage every atom of motherhood in me. (Photo: Reuters)|
Our everyday lives are not Cast Away, the American survival drama where a stunning weight-loss transformation earns laurels for Tom Hanks at the Academy Awards. An everyday pregnant woman is not a Beyonce. And, it is in our best interest to accept things we should do and what we can do.
In a bid to compete with men, we often forget that while we may be as talented and worthy as them, biologically we are different and we must respect that. And, by being safe, we do not become any lesser than anyone.
What is required is not just the glorification of the baby bump, but the acceptance and glorification of the mother, who is constantly questioned on how much of a mother she is if she is a working mother.
With prolific working mothers in different professions, including Marissa Mayer and Kiran Bedi to Sheryl Sandberg and Kareena Kapoor Khan, who implore women to not quit jobs, it is time our role models set examples that women can follow and not flaunt an act that makes a woman feel less of an achiever or a lesser woman and mother.
So, dear Beyonce, although I am mostly ensnared by your swag, I am enraged at the level of selfish stardom you are striving to achieve in a dangerous moment on stage. Not worth the risk.