the complex

by rantywoman

Prime Minister David Cameron described the baby’s birth as an “important moment in the life of our nation” which, as Prince George is third in line for the throne, makes sense if you think the monarchy is important to begin with. (Where would we be without slideshows of the royal corgis?) But for the rest of us who are not subjects of a queen, the answer likely lies with an all too familiar obsession with tabloid-ready infants. As Washington Post reporter Monica Hesse aptly notes, Prince George sits at “the intersection of celebrity worship, royal worship, and the burgeoning baby-industrial complex.”

In The Handbook of Gender, Sex, and Media, Erin Meyers argues that our interest in famous kids is drawn from our desire to see celebrities—who reside in a seemingly unattainable world—in an identifiable situation: motherhood. While we don’t often weekend jet-set to Bora Bora, we have pleaded with a one-year-old to not eat dirt. Meyers says the “celebrity mom profile” grew with the magazines of the 1990s, when celebrity moms began to “embody a highly romanticized and idealized vision” of motherhood as a “pinnacle of ‘natural’ feminine achievement.”