Angela Simmons and the Realness of Pregnancy Shaming
When I first heard the news of Angela Simmons’ pregnancy last week, I was a bit surprised but not too shocked. I’ve come to the point when not too many things like pregnancies throw me for a loop, especially with people over the age of 25. The 28 year old reality star, entrepreneur, and daughter of Hip Hop legend Rev. Run joins her older sister Vanessa and brother Joseph “Jojo” who have had children with their partners—not spouses—in the past few years. With recent news that the once proclaimed abstinent starlet was expecting her first child, per usual, the social media was stirred to air their opinions. But first, a little more background:
“There’s this whole idea of first comes the marriage then the baby carriage so I was so nervous,”
her sister Vanessa spoke in an interview in 2013.
“But my dad was actually really excited because this is the first grandchild for my family.”
Their family was once admired on TV during their shows “Run’s House” on MTV and the spinoff: “Daddy’s Little Girls.”
I think in the back our her fans’ minds they were hoping that she and her sister Angela were indeed the Daddy’s Little Girls, who wait to have sex until they’re married, especially when both have mentioned waiting on their show and more recently Angela said that she was abstaining from sex ‘til marriage. Especially when their father is a “man of God,” Rev. Run, has his own show in which he advised men like co-host Tyrese that women are not cars to be test driven, and that marriage is a Biblical standard and rightful context for sexual intimacy.
They are respected from what I’ve seen and can be seen as positive role models for girls and young women like Tia and Tamera Mowry were for me and my peers growing up. Basically, we’d be a little more forgiving if it was someone who didn’t live by certain values that we expect “good girls” to uphold. So in May when Angela shared a photo of her engagement ring, rumors began to pick up that perhaps she was pregnant as well.
After weeks of speculation Angela took matters into her post and shared an image of her belly, ecstatic about the news of becoming a mother. This post was met with the public’s mixed bag of feedback that comes with news like this. She’s been labeled a liar, hypocrite, and worse that shouldn’t be repeated. But when it’s social media, the public put on their bedazzled judge hats on and go to town on a first time mother and public figure’s social media account. Pregnancy shaming occurs when people put shame upon someone who is pregnant, oftentimes unmarried. Angela’s baby news definitely falls into this and it’s unfortunate to see it play out negatively for people to criticize her humanity.
On one end some feel that Angela should be married first, but at the end of the day she’s an adult as The Unfit Christian pointed out, loves her child’s father, can afford raising her child, hopeful about marriage and is happy about this baby. There are thousands of girls and women who don’t have the same reality or perspective.
Census data says that over the past few years, over 50% of millennial women (like Angela & Vanessa) have had children without being married. This includes someone you probably know, and the reality of the situation is that people are having premarital sex. If you take the risk of sleeping with someone, you could get pregnant; daughter of a preacher or not, saved or unsaved, ghetto or classy. God says that children are gifts, and gifts come without repentance. If you feel strongly opposed to unwed pregnancy, get from behind the computer and link up with abstinence groups, mentor some kids or teens, develop an event for the kids/teens/ADULTS ministry at your church and make a real difference.
The feedback from folks also highlights the double standards that we place on families and individuals of faith. Angela may have a spiritually-based father, but what about her nay-sayers? Are we exempt from living up to God’s standards because our parents aren’t prominent members of the church or respected public figures? Just wondering, because it’s important to note that God doesn’t hold those same biases, only we do. If you are saved, you’re saved; an additional title doesn’t change that. So a daughter of Rev. Run being unwed and pregnant is not any different from any other Christian young woman.
We have to stop attacking the people and start attacking the problems. The issues are social, economical and definitely spiritual. Pregnancy and parenting are a lot harder for singles, so we have to support and love on them regardless, pray for/with them, and keep our mouths off of their situations because it could have been you or me. Best wishes to Angela, her fiancé, their baby on the way, and all those who are expecting too.
What do you think about pregnancy shaming? Is it a problem in your circles? If you enjoyed reading this let us know! Comment and leave some love.