'Sexist Abuse Targeting Pregnant Hailey Bieber Should Be A Wake-Up Call To Us All'

hailey bieber pregnancy 2024
Sexist Trolls Are Targeting Pregnant Hailey BieberCourtesy of Hailey Bieber

An expectant mum opens her Instagram, excited to share pictures of her growing baby bump. But instead of congratulations, she receives hateful, spite-filled messages.

'Praying for a miscarriage.'

'Babies don’t save marriages.'

'She finally trapped him, then.'

In most scenarios, everyone would agree these comments are abhorrent. But somehow, if the mother-to-be in question is a celebrity, people think their misogyny is somehow justified.

Ever since Hailey Rhode Baldwin Bieber shared she’s expecting her first child with husband Justin Bieber, she appears to have been delighting in her pregnancy. 'The past few weeks have been,' Bieber captioned the Instagram post which attracted the latest round of vitriol. It was an innocuous carousel post - most of the sweet images show Bieber proudly cradling her bump.


Yet, somehow, a number of Bieber’s 52 million followers saw the happy post and decided they didn’t care for the wellbeing of the woman or the unborn baby in the photos, instead, wishing harm upon them both. While the majority of the comments are positive - and many people shared their shock at the cruelty they were witnessing - an alarming number of the comments could be classed as 'brutal hate' to borrow the words from one unimpressed fan.

Unfortunately, Bieber has been subjected to hate for years, ever since she first started dating her now-husband and rumours swirled about a potential overlap between their relationship and Justin’s relationship with former girlfriend, Selena Gomez.

For the record, Bieber has previously addressed claims she 'stole' Justin from his ex. Back in 2022, she told Alex Cooper's Call Her Daddy podcast: 'I can say, period, point blank, I was never with him when he was in a relationship with anybody — that's the end of it,' adding that she respects Gomez.

But what struck me most about the recent abuse directed at Bieber (and, arguably, goes beyond the usual bile angry fans spout at stars they seemingly forget are real people with real feelings), is how unthinkably cruel it is. These are not casual jibes and insults (cruel though those are) but truly callous remarks.

An estimated 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Meanwhile, around one in every 250 births result in a stillbirth, according to the NHS. Pregnancy can be an incredibly frightening time for any woman - regardless of their wealth and privilege. And pregnancy is just the beginning of the concerns – as we’ve seen from the UK’s recent birth trauma report (with an estimated 30,000 women a year suffering negative experiences during childbirth).

I can’t imagine what it must be like to deal with the rollercoaster of emotions - joy, fear, love, and trepidation - that come with pregnancy, all the while a braying mob sharpens its metaphorical pitchforks. Because, let’s be honest, this is likely only the beginning of the intensified hate Bieber will receive.

Celebrity mothers are continually judged for how they parent or told they’re either working when they shouldn’t be (like when Suki Waterhouse was criticised for performing at Coachella weeks after welcoming her daughter) and when they dare to speak up about their experiences - to share their story and help other women - they’re judged yet again.

Lily Allen’s recent comment about how her children 'ruined' her career offers a perfect example. Here, a mother (who clearly loves her kids) chose to speak about the complexity of motherhood, addressing a challenge many women, famous or not, face. Yet, instead of sparking a conversation about the support systems and social change needed to address the very real motherhood penalty, Allen was told she has a 'nasty spirit' and her parenting was criticised.

And then there’s the suggestion that Bieber ‘trapped’ her husband of nearly six years by getting pregnant – a misogynistic trope as old as time. Frankly, it's revolting, it’s dated and it’s gone too far. It should be a wake-up call, a sign of how far we still have to go.

Of course, nobody has to like every celebrity, and I can only hope Bieber’s Instagram is managed by an assistant, so she doesn’t have to see the vitriol being directed at her. But let’s be clear about what’s going on and call out the misogyny playing out so casually in Bieber’s comment section. It’s not about misplaced support for another woman, it’s none other than an age-old hatred of women.

ELLE Collective is a new community of fashion, beauty and culture lovers. For access to exclusive content, events, inspiring advice from our Editors and industry experts, as well the opportunity to meet designers, thought-leaders and stylists, become a member today HERE.

You Might Also Like