We’ll always have Rihanna’s pregnancy inspiration. The way Rihanna shamelessly flaunted her pregnancy is a lesson in how people should feel empowered to act — and demand that they be treated — when they grow up.
A moment that perfectly encapsulates Rihanna’s pregnancy attitude occurred in early March, when the nine-time Grammy winner walked the red carpet at a Dior fashion show.
The video shows someone in the crowd shouting “You’re late!” to the singer, to which she replied, “No s—-.”
Related: Rihanna Opens Up About Her Daring Maternity Fashion: “When You Look Good, You Feel Good”
Rihanna didn’t apologize – and studies have shown women apologize much more than men.
The fashion mogul expressed no guilt for making people wait to see her. Instead, she walked the red carpet with confidence, demanding with every gliding motion that people greet her as she grew limbs, fingernails and earlobes inside her body.
Employers, take note – many companies fail to accommodate pregnant women. A 2019 study found that 21% of women are afraid to tell their boss they are pregnantand another survey from 2019 for Young Women’s Trust revealed that one in eight employers are ‘hesitant’ to hire young women for fear that they will end up getting pregnant in the future.
Pregnant women need more employers, hiring managers, CEOs and business owners to enter the workplace like Rihanna – assuming pregnant women will be offered reasonable accommodations, not a public rebuke.
Rihanna channeled that same pregnant, unrepentant energy into her maternity looks — a collection of sheer lace briefs, midriff-flaunting crop tops, sparkly bralettes and figure-hugging mini dresses.
“I appreciate not having to worry about covering my belly,” Rihanna told People on the red carpet at a Fenty Beauty Universe event in Los Angeles in February. “If I feel a little chubby, it’s like, whatever! It’s a baby !”
The actress said it’s easy to “just want to lay here on this couch all day” when you’re pregnant. But when she put on clothes that flattered her, she said she would start to feel good too.
“I’ve been hearing this for a very long time, but it’s true,” she added. “It can really get you off that couch and feel like a bad bitch.”
Yet pregnancy has been something to be “hidden” for decades. And even now, women are encouraged to dress conservatively during pregnancy, and often shamed if they don’t; a precursor to the rapid desexualization of women as soon as they become mothers.
Pregnant women also often experience months of fatphobia. A 2020 study of 501 pregnant and postpartum women found that nearly two-thirds of participants reported experiencing weight stigma from at least one person.
The way the bodies of pregnant women are treated has consequences for mental health.
The same 2020 study found that experience weight stigma puts a person at higher risk for depression, during and after pregnancy. A A 2019 study of 600 pregnant women found that participants who felt more positive about their body changes had lower depression and anxiety scores.
Rihanna doesn’t just “serve us looks” – she protects her sanity.
Ask any mom and she’ll probably tell you that the unevenness you experience during pregnancy doesn’t magically disappear once the pregnancy is over. Of “mom tracking” at workhas a wage disparity between mothers and fathersto a long unequal division of labor in the homemothers can face as much discrimination, stigma and judgment as when they are pregnant.
If Rihanna’s pregnancy is any indication, her public life as a mother will serve as another rebuke of what society “thinks” mothers should act and look like.
And I’m here for that.
Danielle Campoamor is a journalist for AUJOURD’HUI Parents. Previously, she was an editor at Hearst and a freelance writer with bylines at The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News THINK, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and more. Born and raised in Eagle River, Alaska, she lives in Brooklyn, NY with her partner and two sons.