As I write this at home due to Covid-19 and social distancing, I realized that I got lost in my thoughts many times… My mind wandered to the strangest of places without my permission. Thoughts about how I looked, what did people REALLY think of me and where will I be once this is all over and if it is all over. I had chosen to write about this before the pandemic, and now that I am writing it during the pandemic, I can only find myself more troubled at how society has treated women and especially women in the limelight.
As a student, I have found that procrastination is my middle name, and thanks to social media it has become easy to do so. I tend to wander off to look at Snapchat and Instagram quite often. Recently, many of the small news and gossip that the Snapchat explore page has to offer has focused on Sophie Turner and her recent choice of clothing. Mostly focusing on the fact that she has been turning to more baggy clothing options and not form-fitting outfits.
While I just assumed she chose that based on weather, comfort or those were the only clothes left and she needs to do the laundry (Did I out myself on how I choose outfits? Guilty as charged! Laundry sucks). These articles honed in on her hiding her stomach and how this could hint that she is pregnant.
I am going to break this down for everyone: baggy clothes do not hint pregnancy. If you really want to know what baggy clothes may hint at, it could be a period more than anything. Because let’s be real, while my uterus decides I am the enemy and that I need to feel multiple bodily pains, I do not want to wear that little black dress in my closet. However, this was not the first time such rumours had been spread by various gossip magazines.
Why did it bother me so much this time? It struck me when my friend was telling me about how she had to overcome an eating disorder on her own. Sophie Turner has openly spoken about her eating disorder during different productions and how it impacted her life and mental health.
While I am not saying that gossip magazines should not pursue a storyline, they should be sensitive about the way they approach it. Sophie Turner is a woman who has had to face an internal battle with how she looked, and such headlines can bring her back to a place she has fought so hard to avoid.
I thought of my friend who had opened up to me and thought that maybe this will affect her badly. Will she all of a sudden feel more compelled to skip a meal in order to look better? And as those thoughts swirled in my brain, I received a text from that friend who asked me “do I look fat when I wear baggy clothes?”
I immediately replied “No. You look comfy, if anything, you are totally aesthetic and I’m sure a hottie at the lib will ask you for coffee cause comfy vibezzz > everything else” (These are verbatim texts, and I also cringed a bit at myself now that I am writing this).
But, there it was. That headline must have appeared on her feed too. She also must have wondered that loose fitted clothing could only mean one thing, a woman is of a certain weight or pregnant.
I hate to say it, but we are in 2020. A couple should be allowed to share their pregnancy news at the time they deem suitable. Women should not have to fear that their choice of clothing hints at anything.
Heterosexual couples of a certain age should not have the pressure of getting pregnant. While gossip is entertaining, it can also be harmful. Harmful to those who are trying to overcome an eating disorder or who have overcome it. Harmful to those who are family-planning and have had their own setbacks.
While Sophie Turner did ultimately announce she was expecting her first child, there are many layers to why stories that allude to pregnancy are harmful and even though they do not affect me, they affect those around me and the harm spreads.
Moreover, many couples do not wish to share the news of their pregnancy till they reach the second semester. Headlines may just be unwanted pressure that is not great for anyone! And I do wonder if Sophie felt more obligated to admit to her pregnancy due to the rumours.
The way a rumour spreads, so does the harm it causes. I understand that there is a job that these gossip columnists have, and I respect that! However, moral compasses should still guide us. As a society, we need to be mindful that celebrities do play an important role in how messages can be received, and the way we interpret them also have an effect. While Sophie Turner graciously shared her story, we should realize that there was a reason for that.
She is giving a voice to an issue that affects many, and this constant scrutiny that celebrities endure with their clothing choices, should not be a thing. Celebrities do have a platform that can be used in amazing ways, and it is important that those causes and messages get highlighted instead of rumours without a basis.
While Sophie was indeed expecting, that is not always the case. As you can see, the first few rumours did cause distress for some.