The XX Factor

“The Most Talked-About Pregnancy Bump in Britain”

Samantha Cameron, whose husband, David, will probably be prime minister of England shortly, is the owner of the ” most talked-about pregnancy bump in Britain ,” according to the Guardian . The obsession with celebrity pregnancy is not new. What is notable about this article is the juxtaposition of the beautiful, handbag-designing Tory wife “Sam Cam” with Miriam González Durántez, the wife of Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. Cameron is taking time off from her role as creative director of Smythson to campaign with her husband. By contrast, Durántez, an international lawyer, won’t be campaigning with her husband and said in an interview, “I don’t have the luxury of having a job I can simply abandon for five weeks, and I imagine that is the situation for most people in the country.”

Immediately after quoting Durántez, the article’s author Jess Cartner-Morley writes:

Cameron admitted she “won’t be around much over the next few weeks” at Smythson, but said she has worked ahead of schedule, in order to allow this time off. What makes Cameron a compelling character is that she is doing the same juggling act women across the country are doing, only writ large. She may be posh, but she can commiserate over the problems of morning sickness and morning meetings.

Perhaps I am reading too much into Morley’s words, but the implication here seems to be that Sam Cam is more relatable simply because she is pregnant and that Durántez has somehow failed at the juggling act that Cameron handles with flair (and a great purse!). Perhaps I am extra sympathetic to Durántez’s frustration this morning after reading that a former Goldman Sachs executive is suing the company because she says she was “mommy tracked.” According to the New York Daily News , Charlotte Hanna “returned [to Goldman Sachs] part-time in 2005 after the birth of her first child-only to be demoted, she alleges. While on maternity leave with her second child in February 2009, she was told her job was being eliminated.”

It pains me that Durántez is contrasted with Sam Cam in a way that makes her look embittered. As Charlotte Hanna’s lawsuit shows, not everyone can afford to take time off.

Photograph of Samantha Cameron by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.