Magazines: Hollywood Pregnancies—There’s Something in the Water.

You might remember a few years ago, in 2007, when it seemed like every celebrity was pregnant, and some surprisingly so. Nicole Richie with Harlow, Christina Aguilera with Max, Nicole Kidman with Sunday, Gwen Stefani with Zuma, Angelina with the twins, Jessica Alba with Honor, Jennifer Lopez with her twins… it was just never ending!

I was surprised back then to never read an article on the phenomenon. (Then again, I wasn’t as immersed in the fledgling blogosphere at that time and kept my celebrity trend reading to the weeklies and monthlies.) Now I finally get to write about it.

Opening up this week’s Who (and Famous, which came out today, asserting that Blake Lively’s pregnant. She probably just ate too much Thanksgiving turkey. Leave her alone!), a spate of celeb mums-to-be greeted me from its pages. Kourtney Kardashian, Jessica Simpson, Beyonce, Hilary Duff, Jennifer Garner, perhaps Kate Middleton. Now this is a high-profile list! Babies by Jessica, Beyonce and Kate have been long awaited, so expect to see a lot more of their bumps in the media. That’s not to mention how often we’ll see their offspring in the pages of the glossies after the births!

I love few things more than bump-watches and babies, so I’ll be keeping a keen eye on the growing stomachs of these celebs. Especially Beyonce, who, after appearing on Sunday Night a couple of months ago, sparked a faux-bump furor over her creased belly. Do we have another Katie Holmes-Suri saga on our hands?

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Beyonce: Countdown to Overexposure.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Jessica Alba Seemingly Enjoying Pregnancy the Second Time ’Round.

Images via Who, The Hollywood Gossip.

TV: Is Kris Jenner a Bad Mother?

She’s constantly on Khloe for her weight, Kim to prioritise her money-making appearances with family and love, and Kourtney to get married before she has another child. Not to mention that she neglects, according to them, Kendall and Kylie in favour of her older daughters.

But is Kris Jenner a bad mother because of this?

One could argue that she spent her former days of motherhood raising her six kids (not to mention Bruce’s four other children from previous marriages), and is rewarded by earning 10% from their business endeavours.

But some of the things Kris says and does arguably aren’t in the best interests of the wellbeing of her children. Or is that just how they choose to portray her on the show?

In the first season of Khloe & Lamar, Kris berates Khloe for her size (in the same episode that Lamar calls her “not small” in Playboy magazine), saying it’s not cohesive with her other sisters’ frames, nor with QuickTrim, the diet supplement the Kardashian sisters promote. In other episodes of the Keeping Up with the Kardashians franchise, Kris is on Khloe’s back to have a baby. After all, she has been married for two years (who would have thought that would last?!) and is relatively young, so it shouldn’t be that hard, right?

Kris also doesn’t approve of Kourtney’s boyfriend and baby daddy Scott Disick, and in earlier seasons of the show, who could blame her? But even after Scott made a 180° turnaround in his behaviour after son Mason was born, Kris still can’t accept him.

Kim, the head moneymaker of the Kardashian cklan, can usually never put a foot wrong in her mother’s eyes, but every now and then Kris will get upset with her for being so uptight. So do her sisters, for that matter.

But, in the latest season of Keeping up with the Kardashians, Bruce surprises Kris and the family with a trip to Bora Bora to celebrate the couple’s twentieth anniversary. The tables are turned from Khloe’s weight woes to Kris’, as she worries about her body and even contemplates surgery before they go away.

Kris asks how she’s supposed to strut around poolside in a bikini, when all of her young, hot daughters are, too? When I heard this, I wanted to throw up in my mouth a little bit. If anyone had any doubts about Kris being a “stage mum” of sorts, I think the proof is in the pudding (pardon the pun) here, as she’s jealous of her children.

I’m not a mother, so I don’t know if this is a common occurrence, but mothers should be proud of their daughters, not envious. And it’s not healthy for mothers to talk down about their own weight and appearance at the risk of passing that attitude on to their children. At the end of the day, she helped make them the way they are, and she should be proud they’re so successful.

It’s a peek into the insecurities she perhaps projects onto Khloe. I know my mum and I have clashed because of our similar traits.

If you’ve ever watched an episode of the show, you’ll see each 20-minute installment is wrapped up nicely by the time it comes to an end. Like Beverly Hills, 90210, each episode has a message, and everyone learns their lesson and it’s all hunky-dory at its culmination. Khloe realises she has nothing wrong with her body, and she’ll become pregnant sooner or later. Kim realises she needs to loosen up and, incidentally, her new husband, Kris Humphries, helps her do that.

But does the neat little package the Kardashians’ antics are tied up into mean that Kris’s overbearing and insensitive nature is just for show, or edited from an even more tyrannical version of herself?

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Is Kris Kardashian Just a Glorified Pimp?

[Jezebel] Kris Jenner, Momager Extraordinaire, Has Body Issues Too.

Image via Celebuzz.

Magazines: Who Condemns Baby-Body Bullying…

… But when the celebs in question aren’t actually pregnant, it raises the skinny- vs. fat-shaming debate, and whether people in the public eye’s bodies should be public property, too.

Kudos to Nicole Richie, who has come out with this statement:

“To publicly point out a change in anyone’s body is mean-spirited and cruel.”

God knows Richie’s had her fair share of body-bashing in the media. You go, girl!

Khloe Kardashian is another celeb who’s wrestled with both her weight (being perceived as the “fat”, “ugly” sister in comparison to siblings Kim and Kourtney probably doesn’t help) and her struggle to get pregnant:

“The media makes me feel like I’m barren and why can’t you get pregnant? I am 26 years old… When it happens, it’s going to happen.”

American Idol winner Carrie Underwood goes on to say that, “When I wear something a little baggier, I’m like, nope, people are going to think I’m hiding something.”

I’d better stop going out in public in baggy jumpers and layered shirts, then! But thankfully, I’m not a celebrity whose body, actions and shopping list is scrutinised by all manner of media.

[Jezebel] Who Says There Has To Be An “Ugly Sister”?

Magazine Review: The Big Issue, 1–14 March, 2011.

Did you know that there are approximately 7.5 readers for every copy of The Big Issue sold? Which is great for circulating The Big Issue’s content to different kinds of readers, it sucks for the people selling copies out the front of The Body Shop (where I was first exposed to the magazine in my hometown of Bendigo in country Victoria) or at Parliament train station, where I picked up this week’s copy.

But when I read those stats on Girl with a Satchel a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t surprised. A colleague of mine usually brings in his copy to the staff lunchroom, which makes the rounds at work. He’s gone overseas for a few weeks, so I decided to be the one to provide the communal Big Issue during that time. I do hope that more people will fork out the fortnightly five bucks it costs to be exposed to some great Australian writing (“compared with $4.70 for your weekly copy of Who) but until then, I can take solace in the fact that I did my bit.

There’s still a week left to get your paws on a copy, and I suggest you do, as there are some great articles in there, a lot of them dealing with the social revolution tool that is Twitter, which features on the cover. And for you us pop-culture junkies, there’s Liz and Shane and their Twitter antics, too:

“Celebrities, meanwhile, have embraced Twitter as an opportunity to prove their Everyman concerns without having to directly engage with, well, every man or woman. Kourtney Kardashian, for example, recently tweeted her two-million followers: ‘Does anyone else get scared that being on their phones too much or sleeping with your phone near u is so bad? Or am I paranoid?’ I wonder how many fruitlessly replied, ‘Omg, I totes have a brain tumour! We should be BFFs!’ (Note to tweenie Tweeters: she couldn’t care less.)” (p. 15).

You’re such a visionary, Kourtney!

On a more serious note, editor Alan Attwood writes of the similarly prophetic Steven Johnson from Time magazine, who wrote ‘How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live’:

“He argued that all those tiny tweets add up ‘to something truly substantive, like a suspension bridge made of pebbles’. He concluded: ‘The weather reports keep announcing that the sky is falling, but here we are—millions of us—sitting around trying to invent new ways to talk to one another.’ And that, surely, can’t be a bad thing” (p. 4).

We’ve read all the articles about Twitter being a valuable tool for social change, particularly in Egypt, and there’s no shortage of that in the feature article, from which the above Kardashian quote is garnered. Worth the $5 cover price for this article alone.

Another article I loved this fortnight was Patrick Witton’s on “Sharing the Load” of the hellish daily commute.

I wrote last week about two friends of mine who spend at least two hours in their car getting to and from work each day, which sounds like my worst nightmare. Sure, I used to travel upwards of four hours to work from my aforementioned hometown, but that was on the train, where I could get valuable reading, sleeping and daydreaming done. Driving to work allows the driver to indulge in (hopefully) only one of those activities. Then again, I don’t have a license, so I have no idea how much daydreaming gridlock allows…

Witton profiles the car-pooling phenomenon in America, where there are designated pick-up and drop-off points, between which complete strangers ride in silence, and drivers take advantage of the express car-pool lanes. Like a bus, but without the mentally disturbed drunk espousing the apocalypse.

There’s also the teenagers in Jakarta, who make a living from hitchhiking along the highways, getting paid to be picked up so solitary drivers can hightail it to work in the express lane.

Fascinating stuff.

[Girl with a Satchel] The Big Issue Blitzes Readership Survey (But are Aussies Being Tight?)

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Newspaper Clipping of the Week.

Magazines: Famous Review, February 14, 2011.

Don’t let the gaunt and surgery-ravaged bodies of cover girls Lindsay Lohan, Heidi Montag and Audrina Patridge fool you; this is one issue of Famous worth picking up.

Famous always puts a cute spin on the week’s hottest celeb stories, with appearances by Lohan (on pages 6–7 and 13, for stealing a necklace and regretting getting cosmetic surgery too young, respectively); Kim and Kourtney Kardashian (p. 8–9), who are—unbelievably—fighting over Scott Disick; the Twilight stars and their salary wars (p. 16–17); Rihanna, who might be coming out of the closet after revelations by Hollywood socialite Tajah, who claims she had a lesbian affair with the singer (p. 20–21); and Lauren Conrad, who is taking the New York City fashion world by storm (p. 24–25).

Speaking of fashion, it is a key element in this week’s issue, with several stellar items I would like to see in my wardrobe in the very near future.

I’ll be reserving some shoe space for Jeffrey Campbell’s red suede booties on page 47, while By Johnny’s cut-out dress (p. 50) is perfect for an upcoming masquerade cocktail party I’ve been invited to. Accessorised with some chunky gold jewellery à la Nicole Richie (with Khloe Kardashian at an L.A. Lakers game on page 40) and a mask to match, it should make for a versatile piece.

Elsewhere, Lady Gaga gets trashed (p. 28–29); Zac Efron dates five girls at one time (p. 30–31);  the stars strike a pose on the red carpet of the Screen Actors Guild Awards (p. 36–37); Kate Moss gets thrifty at a market stall (p. 38); Reese Witherspoon shops for bridal magazines in preparation for her upcoming nuptials (p. 39); and Gossip Girl gets curly (p. 45).

Famous is always good value (at $3.95, it’s the cheapest glossy on the block), and this issue is no exception. I love it for its smart captions and coverlines, great composition of celeb shots, and its knack for getting the balance right between left-of-centre reporting and “Britney-goes-to-Starbucks” frivolity.

 

 

 

[The New York Times] Nice-Guy Bloggers Needn’t Finish Last.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Poor Little Rich Girl: Lindsay Lohan in Who.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Poor Little Rich Girl: Who Cover Girl Heidi Montag.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Hills Have (Dead) Eyes.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Plastic Backlash.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Kim Kardashian Backlash.

The Kim Kardashian Backlash.

I sense a backlash coming on. Specifically, a Kim Kardashian backlash.

Personally, I love the girl. I think she’s sweet, with good intentions and a savvy business sense. But seriously, I am over seeing her on every magazine cover every week. She’s like the new Jennifer Aniston.

We don’t care about how she’s 30 and single and desperate, Who. So is half the population (and this is based on actual statistics that I pulled from out of my ass). I’ve got my own problems; I’m 23 and single and desperate, but you don’t see me on the cover of a weekly moaning about it. (No, but I do moan about it on this here blog!)

Only a few short months ago, Kim was the apple of Famous’s eye, guest editing an issue in May. Now she’s on its cover again, which is espousing the alleged demise of their TV show (although, which TV show Famous is referencing is unclear. Could it be Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami or Kourtney & Kim Take New York? Oh, the possibilities!) in the wake of the release of their new book, Kardashian Konfidential.

On a side note, are the Kardashian’s really in the position to be releasing a self-help book of sorts? Khloe isn’t exactly the poster girl for responsibility; she was jailed for drink driving and married Lamar Odom after a month of dating (well, they are still together over a year later, so maybe irresponsibility is the key?). While Kourtney has been blessed with baby Mason, she will be forever cursed by baby daddy, Scott Disick, one of the forefathers of douchebaggery. (More on that to come tomorrow.) And Kim is 30 AND SINGLE! Who is she to be giving advice?

The Kardashian’s are famous for being famous. I think Kim’s biggest claim to fame before turning herself into an über-celebrity was her sex tape and being Paris Hilton’s BFF, who then later likened Kim’s ass to a garbage bad full of cottage cheese, which isn’t very BFF-like. And we all know what happened to Paris: she went to jail and while she was released just weeks later, her pop cultural relevance rotted there.

If you’re not careful, Kim K, you might suffer the same fate. And nobody likes cottage cheese that’s been left out too long.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Famous Review: May 3, 2010.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Beautiful, Big Mouthed Backlash Against Katherine Heigl & Megan Fox.