Jessica Fondles Her Fanbase
When Lainey emailed me about Jessica Simpson’s guest post on iVillage, I was like “Ugh f-ck here we go again.” Disliking Jessica Simpson is so easy but kind of tiring, too. She tests the support system that, in theory, women (particularly new moms) are supposed to provide one another. But it’s hard to stop sh-tting on someone who is so transparent and who so willingly aims to profit off motherhood.
Jessica shared “exclusive” photos with iVillage (I’ve seen some of these before, but whatever) along with short captions from her friends. I noticed a few things:
1.No mention of Weight Watchers anywhere. Considering she’s been plugging it so relentlessly, this is clearly a ploy to get back to Jessica basics: big blonde hair, wide smile, dim quotes and sunshine.
2.No Papa Joe (come to think of it, he’s been quiet since his DUI), no grandma Simpson, no sister Ashlee. I find their absence interesting because for so long they were happy to monetize their family dynamic.
3.No quote from Eric. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard Eric speak.
Jessica’s friend and nursery designer (who gets a nice plug) said about Jessica’s natural mothering instinct: “It’s how she’s wired.” I mean don’t we get it… Jessica was born to mother (and not anything else she’s ever been in her life, including daughter, mother, sister, singer, actress, reality show star).
Yes, most friends of new moms would say they are “a natural.” But the friends she’s chosen to feature, the quotes and the photos - they are all in service of an image: the bosomy woman who wants to have babies and give blowj-bs. Her entire existence is to serve her child and her man. That’s it.
And really, what is Jessica offering us? Nothing! As a guest editor (freelance writers, let’s weep together), it’s 7 measly photos (a few look like they are at the airport) and some fluffy quotes. That’s it? If you are going to guest edit, say something – anything! – besides how magical your life is. Most celebrity moms, even if they are pimps, at least pretend to have a cause that’s bigger than their immediate family. With Jessica, all we get is her. I don’t expect her to have substance, but you think her world would get a little wider now that she brought another human into it.
Have you noticed Jessica, the constant oversharer, never mentions “work”? I suppose giving these quotes to iVillage is work, but it’s never mentioned. The media push she did for Weight Watchers? Work. Losing weight? Work. Talk about being a work mom with a 4-month-old Jessica, I can guarantee that is far more relatable than what you are selling.
She also never mentions childcare, nannies, night nurses etc. Granted, celebrity moms rarely do, but Jessica is selling us on her honest, down-to-earth persona. She shared that she couldn’t keep her hands off her man for 6 weeks, but she’s never mentioned her help. She can’t apply for the job without showing her resume, you know?
They also talk about Maxwell’s footwear (heels vs. sneakers) – come the f-ck on, I don’t have a girl but is this a real conversation? Moms of little girls, are you actually thinking about this? Also how she’ll “definitely encourage education and school. But I want to help her start following her dreams because we start having them so young.” Because education and dreams are mutually exclusive, I guess? From what she’s shown us so far, she’s definitely not aiming for Maxwell to have a private childhood. And hold your emails – when you post photos as consistently as she does, there is no pretending that privacy is a priority. I don’t even think that’s an argument.
For me, Jessica represents every annoying friend who’s had a baby and become someone else, someone you couldn’t possibly understand because she is hardwired to be a mom. She is the cliché I fight against when I want o send my friends 25 photos of my kid in the bath. There is a chasm between child-free women and women with kids, and it feels like it’s getting wider and more toxic. And Jessica is counting on the mom side to keep her career thriving and the $4 million deals coming. But why should we? A new mom should get a lot of things - encouragement, help, patience – from her circle. And by pretending that “we” are her people, Jessica is asking the same of us. If she lived with a modicum of anonymity, even for a little while, she could get all those things from the friends who so generously speak of her on iVillage. None of us (mom or not) should waste our new mom cheerleading enthusiasm on Jessica Simpson.
Click here for more guest editing from Jessica Simpson on iVillage.