How Rihanna is reshaping the way society perceives pregnant women

Updated: Apr 12

Five years after revolutionizing makeup industry, Rihanna makes revolution yet again: now it’s about the way pregnant women are viewed by society.

Image description: a two pictures montage of singer Rihanna. In the first image she appears in her back, looking to the side, wearing a baby doll transparent dress and a thong underneath while pregnant  the second picture shows Rihanna looking straight to the picture, exhibiting the front of the outfit, completed with 2 chain chokers and 2 chain collars, hair half up and half down, three small earring, light make up on the eyes and Scarlett red lipstick
Reproduction Instagram

I was never the type of girl that dreams about being a mother.

I mean, growing up in the 1990s that was not really a discussion. I knew my life path would revolve around studying “to become successful in life”; finding a nice guy with whom I would get married and build my family. But even as a kid, I do not remember dreaming about being a mom. As I grew up and debates about #feminism, #Motherhood and women’s place in Society intensified, the less motherhood seemed appealing to me. It wasn’t really because of the difficulty of it or due to the world's super population, I stopped even thinking about children because I felt like women had to become new people to be mothers.

There is a Brazilian proverb that says “along with a newborn, a new woman is born”. Although I get the essence of the affirmation, I love the person I‘ve become and was simply not sure if I felt like I wanted to change that much. I know this may sound childish/ selfish - and it’s not that I am not willing to evolve and progress as I learn and go through hardship - but society, as a whole, plasters women in such a sanctified position after they give birth, that it feels like I would have to mold myself to cater to the expectations of others.

If I think about motherhood, as an abstract concept - not painting a picture based on my own mom or friends - I tend to think about a stressed but serene sexless woman that does not really spend a lot of time in self care, since she puts others in front of her. Not as a burden, but as a dream instead.

I was never able to go so deep into these reflections until I saw Riri pregnant. Through her rebelion I could see how society puts women, instantaneously in the mother roll - and as a consequence intensifies the judgment - once the baby bump shows. Even the most powerful women feel like they are ”enlightened” into giving up their force to evolve into an immaculate being.

Maybe that's why I was, instantaneously, drawn when Rihanna started showing her belly bump: I still perceive her as a free spirited, independent, strong and sexy woman (and I have to admit I was reluctant to leave this statement when editing this, but that’s exactly how I feel when I look at her picture in the Dior fashion show).

Image description: singer Rihanna walking toward the right, with her left hand up, carrying a green ring, a mini hot pink dress, featuring a light turquoise feathers trim and vibrant turquoise shoes  her right hand is down, holding a plush purse in the same tone of the feathers trim. Her hair is black, long and wavy, it’s down and all pulled back. She is wearing hot pink lipstick and nude gold eye shadow.
Via Hollywood Life by BACKGRID

This reluctance made me think about how we are molded to have a specific and puritan image of mothers. I retracted my own feeling about a gorgeous woman, because the adjectives we usually have for mothers are: glowing; vibrant; cute; motherly; beautiful. Never sexy or powerful. But that’s always been the vibe I get from Rihanna - and that is still her vibe, she just happens to be pregnant now. So I started searching for other bold celebrities while they were pregnant and came to the conclusion that their personal styles are carefully crafted to appear more modest and conservative. Catering to a system that is not prepared to see women as mothers the same way we see men as fathers. This realization made me think about Britney Spears and wonder if her pregnant style helped shaping the image of a bad mom the media created...

Style analysis

The concept of “along with a newborn, a new woman is born” is materialized once a celebrity announce their pregnancy, because from this point on we literally see a different person, we see a “mom”, which usually features: light / nude makeup; long and knee length dresses; wide and straight shapes; almost no stomach showing; muted colors; almost complete extinction of shorts and mini skirts; basic style; bust covered with an over-top piece. A whole woman’s personality and image is replaced by the “mom” mood. This gets even more intense when it comes to pop divas, it is almost like visual a letter of resignation.

That is why Rihanna’s style is so revolutionary: it does not state MOTHERHOOD, it otherwise, states Rihanna is still a badass with an incredible and daring personal style, and she is pregnant now. Instead of muted colors, Rihanna opted for bright and vibrant pink, violet, green and blue tones. The textures chosen for her pregnancy outfits are also daring: natural and soft fabrics were replaced by latex, fur, denim, lurex and lycra, a totally out of the box sellection of materials. Lots of mini skirts and transparency have also been an usual element she incorporated beautifully.

Rihanna also did not quit showing skin in the most glamurous way possible, not only her cleavages are an item, but during her pregnancy her belly‘s always showing too, displayed as an important component of her style. I do not see her pregnancy as the retirement from her fierce persona.

For the first time a famous woman is not becoming, instantaneously a immaculate - or a villainized - figure when their belly bumps. And it is important because shows a very humanized version of a mother.

So, although you might agree with the article “Society loves Rihanna’s maternity style…just not on most women” - and not even I totally disagree with it. We have to admit that: first, Society loves Rihanna’s style just not on most women as a whole. She always dressed in an edgy way and got mixed comments about her clothes. That is exactly why her style is so admired: she is capable of making anything stylish, not only through the combinations, but also through her confidence. Why should that change during her pregnancy? And even if you absolutely can’t stand it, there is still a lesson to be learned: being a mother does not have to change a woman’s personality, even if it changes her entire life.

That’s how much of a statement clothes are, we should definitely consider taking fashion more seriously.

114 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All