Every now and then, the world of celebrity conspiracy theories throws up one of my favourite utterly bonkers tropes: The fake pregnancy. How do you top that for crazy? These sort of tin-hat delusions are seldom rooted in reality or feasibility, but there’s something especially unhinged about the idea that a woman living under the endless scrutiny of the press could not only fake a pregnancy but do so while leaving teeny clues that only the most discerning forum dwellers could decipher. Benedict Cumberbatch’s wife Sophie Hunter was accused of both faking pregnancies to trap poor Benny and using her evil ovaries to enslave him into forced marriage. One Direction musician Louis Tomlinson’s ex-partner was accused of using a literal doll as a fake son for him as part of the ever-ominous PR attempts to keep his romance with Harry Styles hidden. And, of course, there’s the endless bullsh*t around Beyoncé’s first pregnancy.
And now Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, is the latest focus of this hate.
We’ve already talked a lot in the past about how Meghan has been subjected to the most ridiculous and vile levels of bullying, both from the usual internet creeps and the British press at large. She’s been sneered at for everything, from wearing dark nail polish to closing her own car door to holding her baby bump too much in public to, you know, being a mixed-race woman who occasionally talks about things that matter to her. The Daily Mail even had the gall to dox some of her online trolls (seriously, don’t do that) then stick it in their newspaper next to an article of one of their columnists tearing into Meghan for writing nice things on bananas to sex workers.
Watching the British tabloids and T.V. vultures create endless platforms for her dad and half-siblings to emotionally bully and gaslight her for national audiences has been genuinely quite upsetting to watch, even as a Republican who would happily see the end of the monarchy. Death to this archaic establishment but also leave Meghan alone!
So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Meghan has ‘pregnancy truthers’. After all, why would a heavily pregnant woman hold her bump so much in public if it weren’t proof that she was just hiding a pillow under those dresses?
If you’re 6 months pregnant or more, please squat like this and post a pic of it in this thread. Please and thanks! #moonbump #shrinkingmoonbump #deliberatedefiance #megxit #mmtcd pic.twitter.com/JXiX9tD3dC— Nova Harlot (@NovaHarlot) January 30, 2019
Classy dress, pregnancy glow, extra weight all over versus fake pregnancy #moonbump #thecharlatanduchess I just want them to stop lying. The public do not care that you have a surrogate they care they are being treated like idiots and being attacked calling out the truth!! pic.twitter.com/HUDYue21ys— Taz81 (@superscuba83) January 26, 2019
Christ, where to begin…
It seems silly and a waste of everyone’s time to even try and refute what is obviously rooted in racist narcissism, delusion and good old-fashioned jealousy. It’d be an insult to everyone, Meghan especially, to pretend this is something worth discussing with legitimacy. So I know what you’re thinking: Why even bring it up here? Why give them the air of attention by making a post about it? Because this is merely a symptom of a much larger sickness that’s permeated our press and discourse since Meghan Markle was revealed to be dating Prince Harry. It’s an exemplification of the way that women, especially women of colour, become centred as ‘suitable targets’ for all manner of racism, misogyny, delusions and insults, and the market that has been built around that. The Daily Mail may claim they’re fighting trolls who go after Meghan but they’re still part of the machine creating that hostile environment for profit. After all, they’re the paper that declared her to be ‘straight outta Compton’ in an attempt to drum up racist paranoia. They’re one of many tabloids and talk shows spinning an endless cycle of hatred against her that seems to exist almost exclusively because she’s a mixed race woman in the public eye they feel entitled to ownership of.
It’s easy to write off stuff like the above conspiracies as frivolities that Meghan and others can easily ignore, but the truth is far more insidious than that. This stuff permeates the conversation far more than we’d like to admit, and we’ve long since passed the point where ‘just ignore it’ is a viable response to conspiracies, paranoia and far worse. It’d be great if the usual suspects in the press took time to genuinely reflect on the rot they’ve helped to cultivate at the heart of reporting surrounding Meghan and how it leads to stuff like this but that seems like too much to hope for. The sad thing is that I don’t think things will get much better once the baby is born. There’s little the press and public at large love more than declaring people they hate to be bad parents based on nothing.
Header Image Source: Getty Images.