Mommy Couture
The newest Hollywood accessory.


Sabrina L. Schaeffer

Put away your pet Chihuahua — that’s so last season. There’s no need to carry a miniature dog around when you can show off a much cuter “poochy.” That “mommy pouch” turns into the new “must have” this season. Weighing in at around 7 lbs. 4 oz., any girl worth some paparazzi has one…or even two!

“Hollywood’s Baby Boom,” as People refers to it, includes red carpet beauties, musicians, and former Playboy models, and touches even the most far-reaching parts of the globe.

Kicking off the summer season baby trend was former Dawson’s Creek starlet Katie Holmes and silver screen, eye-candy boyfriend Tom Cruise. Baby Suri arrived in April to rave reviews from the press. And it has been hard to miss supercouple and tabloid favorites, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, who traveled to Africa to give birth to their new daughter Shiloh.

Engaged and expecting? Oscar-winning star of The Constant Gardner Rachel Weisz sported a perfectly contoured tummy this spring, and she and and fiancé Darren Aronofsky brought home a baby boy earlier this month. Maggie Gyllenhaal and fiancé Peter Sarsgaard are currently awaiting the birth of their first child. Both mommies have grabbed the spotlight with their turn to motherhood.

Of course you don’t have to be a bigger-than-life combo like “TomKat” or “Brangelina” to sport this style. The trend trickles down to lesser-known stars like filmmaker Sofia Coppola, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell (whose daughter Bluebell Madonna was born in May), and former Playmate Anna Nicole Smith who just confirmed her pregnancy (father unreported).

Who said an expensive trinket can’t save a marriage? Just ask Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, who are waiting on baby number two. Coming just months after the pop superstar was caught with son Sean on her lap in a moving car and received a visit from child services when he plunked out of his highchair, they should remember, there is definitely a thing called over-accessorizing.

As with all couture, imitation will not do. If you’re going to buy a pair of bug-eye sunglasses, make sure they’re Chanel. And, if you’re planning on modeling your other “bug” this season, make sure she is making a political statement. Brangelina’s newest accessory was sporting the new Kingsley label, couture clothing known for “art and rock inspired graphics…with an edge” that’s made just for this year’s hottest accoutrement.

So is the baby craze just another Hollywood trend, or have these famous faces traded in their liberal looks for a more conservative fashion? Have they picked up on the conservative devotion to homemaking and domesticity? In August 2005, a Gallup survey revealed a modest backlash against women working outside of the home. The managing editor of the poll, David Moore, wrote at the time, “The latest Gallup survey shows majorities of men and women preferring the traditional male and female roles of breadwinner and family caretaker, respectively.”

In her recent book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism, Carrie Lukas suggests that “women’s greatest source of fulfillment” is not always their job. In fact, according to an Independent Women’s Forum survey she cites, nearly a third of women said they would prefer to stay home with their children if money was not a factor.

Maybe America’s royalty have picked up on a larger cultural trend, where women who can afford to are choosing to put their careers on hold to enjoy the experience of motherhood. Perhaps, but Hollywood is still Hollywood, and appearances are everything. So the real foundation of family — marriage — is often lost in show. These Hollywood families are more like make-believe pseudo-families, with faux limited-contract marriages — when the parents even get around to getting hitched.

Retro aprons have made a comeback, and icons like Martha Stewart have made tending to hearth and home something to take pride and pleasure in. But these are ornamental aspects of the stay-at-home lifestyle. Women who can afford to enjoy motherhood at home choose to leave the office in exchange for an entirely different kind of gratification — a partnership founded in marriage that creates a family.

The momentary flash of conservatism coming from the city of lights is just that — a flash of special effects. Parenthood should be a new commitment made between two people who have already made a promise to each other through marriage. A new life is too important to bring into the world with so little thought given to the importance of a stable family. But, for now, it’s summertime and being a mom s in.

–Sabrina Leigh Schaeffer is the director of media relations and public affairs at the Republican Jewish Coalition. The views expressed here are her own.


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