Non-Pregnant Models Wear Fake Baby Bumps For Maternity Wear Shoots

It seems that there has been a lot of news relating to pregnant models recently. Modelling agency Models Direct has reported on…

Pregnant Jessica Simpson models naked for Elle, via, Photo: Carter Smith; styled by Joe Zee
Pregnant Jessica Simpson models naked for Elle, via, Photo: Carter Smith; styled by Joe Zee

Modelling agency Models Direct has seen a lot of news relating to pregnant models recently; Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima recently went public with her pregnancy via Twitter, pregnant Jessica Simpson modelled naked for Elle, Robyn Coles’ sent a pregnant model down the catwalk wearing nothing but one of her hats at New York Fashion week, and of course our own pregnant model Pippa was sent on a pregnancy-related assignment for Harley Clinic Ltd.

But the latest story that Models Direct writers have noticed involving pregnant models has been raised by Herald Sun columnist Susie O’Brien. She wrote disappointedly last week about the use of models wearing fake baby bumps for maternity wear shoots. Her article discussed whether or not this practise is appropriate or fair on real pregnant women who may be left with unrealistic expectations about how their bodies could change and develop during pregnancy.

“While pregnant, I remember gazing at the slim, lissome models in the posh maternity wear catalogues and wondering if they were going to give birth to a basketball instead of a baby,” she wrote. “They were tall, slim and had beautiful round compact baby bellies. I was short, squat, perspiring, and afflicted with varicose veins in unmentionable places.”

Many pregnant women will relate to this, but is O’Brien right to suggest that only genuinely pregnant models should ever be used to model maternity clothing? One reader responded: “How ridiculous. The funny thing is, if they used ‘real’ pregnant women, they would be the first to complain about the uncomfortable positions, the long standing around, the heat, the cold, the list would be endless, right? If I had to do a shoot, of course I’d use fake ‘bumps’, that, for me, is a no brainer. Why don’t we complain about using fake blondes instead of real blonde women?”

Another stated: “I personally don’t see what the issue is with this. Sure the pregnant community might fire back and claim the images are not realistic as the women are skinny with a bump, but what about the cases of pregnant women who do not gain additional weight (save for the belly)? Should they not be able to model either, because it promotes an unrealistic image? I know many women who have been pregnant and you wouldn’t know from behind and they were being very healthy during the pregnancy.”

In fact there were far more comments like this than we had expected to see in response to O’Brien’s piece. We wondered what you thought?

Maybe you agree with her statement: “Women are really sick of looking at pictures of women in the media that have been digitally altered without acknowledgement, and this is no different. Maternity houses using non-pregnant women as models should be encouraged to declare their deception for the mental health of all of their customers. In any case, you’d think that using real pregnant women would be a good marketing strategy and basic common sense.”

Or do you believe that she is overreacting or being unrealistic in her opinion? We would be very interested to hear your thoughts on this debate.