Society has come a long way since pregnant women were referred to discreetly as being "in the family way" or "with child." In 1952, the nation's most famous mother-to-be, Lucille Ball, couldn't even say the word pregnant on television.
Enter 1991, and another celebrity mother-to-be, Demi Moore. The actress, seven months pregnant, is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Vanity Fair. That's not news. The news is that Moore--in a softly lit profile photograph that partly obscures her body--is nude.
The cover photo is generating a lot of hype--good for magazine sales. But beyond marketing, the photograph of a woman whose belly is swollen with child stirs thoughts about how society now views pregnant women, and how they view themselves.
There are plenty of people who still think a pregnant woman ought to cover up her "condition." When a pregnant Princess Diana was photographed in a bikini, the outrage was directed not only at the photographer who grabbed the shot but also at Diana for wearing the revealing suit. (Distributors worried about negative reaction have shrouded the current Vanity Fair cover in paper.)
But there is something special about a tasteful photograph of a pregnant woman au naturel and without childlike bows, Peter Pan collars, puffed sleeves and ruffles.
Beautiful faces and lean bodies usually grace magazine covers. Perhaps in the brouhaha about the photo of Moore's bulging belly, the definition of what's considered beautiful will expand, too.