Since the premiere of the HBO documentary Life is But a Dream last weekend, the reaction to the “intimate” peek inside Beyoncé’s life have all hovered close to the same sentiment: she “reveals little,” offers only a “fleeting glimpse” of her life, and “refuses to get messy” in her struggle for perfection. But while most critics were left to wonder whether they’d ever see the “real” woman within Beyoncé—whoever that may be—the folks over at Gawker have suggested that we will never know the truth about the real woman supposedly behind Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s daughter, Blue Ivy.
In a bizarre effort to throw his hat into the ring of the Beyoncé birther movement, which revolves around the conspiracy theory that Beyoncé was never actually pregnant and instead hired a surrogate to grow her a baby, Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak writes of the movie: “We never see a full, clear shot of Beyoncé’s pregnant, swanlike body. Instead it’s presented in pieces, owing to the limitations of her Mac webcam. When her body is shown in full, it’s in grainy, black and white footage in which her face is shadowed.”
Juzwiak thinks that, in the face of surrogate rumors, Beyoncé presents the evidence of her pregnancy “too weirdly.” But what’s “weird”—and gross—is the fact that Juzwiak feels as though he is entitled to a glimpse of a woman’s pregnant (and presumably naked) figure, just so we can confirm that the woman was indeed pregnant. (It’s preposterous enough that Beyoncé felt she had to address the gossip at all—she calls it the most “ridiculous” rumor about her thus far.) It appears that after years of celebrity moms posing nude while with-child, some people have come to expect that such images are not just a trend, they’re de rigueur. Or worse yet, necessary evidence because of course most people go around lying about their pregnancies just as they do their birth certificates.
It doesn’t help that Juzwiak’s accusatory tone (“her supposedly pregnant self …”) was further endorsed by Jezebel writer Tracie Egan Morrissey’s in the post’s comments:
When she said, “being pregnant was very much like falling in love…” and talked about how it was “fun” I was like, that is something that a person who imagines what pregnancy is like would say. Pregnancy is not fun. You’re tired all the time and your back hurts and you pee your pants and get excess saliva and bloody boogers and pimples with their own pulse and leukemia farts. And you can’t eat bleu cheese.
What Juzwiak and Morrissey don’t seem to consider is that perhaps Beyoncé doesn’t sound totally authentic when talking about her pregnancy because she’s still reluctant to reveal too much about certain portions of her life. You can think that makes her documentary project a fraud, but it’s a leap to then assume it also makes her pregnancy one. And while she may be more than willing to prove herself professionally, family life is a very different story. “If you’re lucky and fortunate enough to [experience pregnancy], people should have boundaries,” Beyoncé says to the camera at one point in the movie. “There’s certain things you just shouldn’t play around with. And a child, you don’t play around with that.”