Pregnant with the Stars
Watching and Wanting the Celebrity Baby Bump
Renée Ann Cramer



This has been a terrifically fun book to write—and writing acknowledgments has been a joyful process of remembrance. Thank you to all listed here for your assistance and encouragement.

For being the best colleague and friend a scholar could want, many thanks to Jeff Dudas. He read the entire manuscript more than once, commented critically and kindly on each draft, and saw, early on, the importance of Mila Kunis. Similar thanks to Claire Rasmussen for her helpful engagement with the entire text and for sharing her work in progress where it dovetailed with some of the arguments I am making. Thanks, too, to generous and thoughtful anonymous reviewers at Stanford University Press and to Michelle Lipinski—she’s a terrific reader and a great editor. Thank you, Austin Sarat, for passing my manuscript proposal along to her capable hands—and for your support of cultural analysis within legal studies.

Thanks go to Julia Jordan-Zachery for three reasons: her engagement with the introduction and chapter two, her role in keeping me accountable for celebrating and working, and her friendship. Thanks, too, to Janine Holc for accountability help and to the Scrappy Scribblers! for support, celebration—and yes, accountability—especially scribblers Nikol Alexander-Floyd (intersectionality scholar extraordinaire) and Beth Posner Ginsburg (who I have known since grad school and whose dad performed the ceremony marrying Aaron and me).

I appreciate all of these friendships daily.

I am similarly grateful to the following people for their engagement with several of the chapters: Megan Brown, Sandi Patton-Imani, Amy O’Shaughnessy, and Nancy Berns. For early critique and commentary, thanks to Judith Grant, Marjorie Jolles, Susan Burgess, and participants at the Drake Women’s and Gender Studies colloquium, Law and Society Association meetings, and the Western Political Science Association meetings. For early and enthusiastic encouragement, as well as helping earlier versions of the text to “pop,” thanks to Shira Tarrant. Mary Dudas presented a paper on “the consumptive passions,” at Law and Society—that paper helped to shape my thinking in chapter five.

For telling me that he thought the book was a bad idea—and challenging me to convince him otherwise—thanks to Sasha Gorman!

Thank you to the folks at TedXWomen Des Moines for the opportunity to turn the entire book into a seventeen-minute notes-free speech.

While working on this book, two other professional endeavors pulled my attention. First, I was chairing my department and must offer my thanks to Will Garriott in particular for being such a wonderful departmental colleague—explaining gently to students why I wasn’t around (even when I was), teaching brilliantly, and engaging parts of this text with intelligence and care. I was also working to lead a team assessing our campus climate and culture for faculty, staff, and students of color—and using that assessment to create a strategic plan for diversity and inclusive excellence. My colleagues on that leadership team, Melissa Sturm-Smith and Mike Couvillon, deserve special thanks and high praise for understanding the juggling act I was undertaking, for supporting my time away, at times, to write and think—and for seeing the connections between this project and ours. Special thanks, too, to Melissa for her reading of several chapters and her willingness to talk about critical race and feminist theory. And thanks to the entire Strategic Diversity Action Team for your commitment to the We Make Drake! project. All the scholarly analysis in the world is for naught if we don’t try to make our corner of the world better.

For collegiality, friendship, and a willingness to chat about these—and other—scholarly things, a hearty thank-you to Melissa Michelson, Anna Maria Marshall, Laura Beth Nielsen, Erika Iverson, Heather Pool, Nina Flores, Olivia Garcia, Petra Lange, Laura Hatcher, Christine Harrington, Jean Carmalt (I miss you!), Jon Gould, Aaron Lorenz, Shelby Bell, Paul Passavant, Paula Mohan, Tony Tyler, Sarah Cote Hampson, Jennifer Harvey, Jose Marichal, Joanna Mosser, Hadar Aviram, Shannon Portillo, Nancy Mullane, Benjamin Fleury-Steiner, Jennifer Perrine, Darcie Vandegrift, Jinee Lokaneeta, Julie Novkov, Amanda Hollis Brusky, Jennifer Perrine, Josh Wilson, Peter Hovde, Scott Lemieux, Sandi Patton-Imani, Danelle Stamps, Michael Renner, Roger Hartley, Art Sanders, and Rebecca Spence.

For the examples they set of joyful productivity and a commitment to justice, thanks to Kerry Ann Rockemore, Brene Brown, and Jennifer Louden—I only know you via social media, but I love you!

A hearty thank-you to everyone who brought me pictures of pregnant celebrities—whether you tore them from magazines, emailed links, or posted pics on my Facebook wall. I won’t remember all of you—but I know that I owe special gratitude to Tami Drew (my sister!), Amanda Krafft, Kristi Martel, Nicole Fenton, Charlynn Rick (we miss you!), Andrew Fowler, Tracey Sommerville, Megan Day Suhr, Frederique Courard-Hauri, Samantha Wagner, Kayla Craig, Jamie Brightman, Katie Kruger, Molly Bassford, Lena Fox, and Adrienne Erazo.

Thanks to the three iterations of my undergraduate class Reproductive Law and Politics for helping me think through these things—especially chapter one. Thanks as well to students in my Law, Politics, and Society senior seminar (fall 2014) for their critical engagement with the introduction. And thank you to Mikhala Stutzman (I call her “the comma killer”) for being a terrific undergraduate research assistant. It’s a delight to have a student who you can trust with both substantive and stylistic edits, while also enjoying long conversations about feminist theory, cultural politics, and legal studies.

The majority of this book was written while on a semester-long sabbatical from teaching, as well as over the course of a wonderful summer. I am grateful to Drake University for the sabbatical time, to the College of Arts and Sciences for funding related to that time off, to the provost’s office for research support, and to the Drake Center for the Humanities for essential financial support at the end of the project. Thank you to Carla Herling for fabulous administrative support.

Because it was where I formed my understanding of scholarship and teaching, I always must acknowledge the profound impact that my undergraduate years at Bard College have on the person I am and the scholar I am becoming.

The book was written while listening to the following essential music: M.I.A., Lorde, Macklemore, Eminem, Matisyahu, Trevor Hall, Michael Franti and Spearhead, the Decemberists, Iron and Wine, Dawes (always Dawes—live, on CD, via Spotify, in the car . . .), U2, Iris Dement, The Head and the Heart (including live shows at critical moments), Taylor Swift (yes, Taylor Swift), Katy Perry, the Avett Brothers, Lupe Fiasco, Beyoncé, Pink, Ani DiFranco, the Mountain Goats, the Decemberists, Trampled by Turtles, and D’Angelo. I recommend them all for writing and running. Thank you to Gayle, Lena, Mary Kate, and Ben—the yoga classes you taught were just as necessary as the music and the running.

This book was also written over the course of multiple cups of coffee and tea and amazing veggie food at the best coffee shop in Des Moines, Iowa: Ritual Café. Thanks, ladies, for your hospitality. And thanks, Lars, for the Thursday morning conversations while we both took breaks from our writing and editing.

I am grateful to media watchers and media makers whose obsession with the celebrity baby bump made this book possible and to the celebrities willing to make private portions of their lives public.

There would be no book, no reason to write, and no fun after the work without my family: my husband, Aaron, and our son, Wyatt. There aren’t words to tell you of my gratitude and my joy at sharing life with you.