Last week, podcast host and entrepreneur Lana Rhoades announced she is expecting her first child in a post on Instagram. Posting a picture of her first sonogram next to a bunch of flowers, Lana Rhoades pregnancy clearly came as a surprise to followers and friends alike. But while her celebrity friends celebrated the shock, many followers seemed to go the opposite way, shaming and damning her for choosing to become a mother at all.
Why? Well, there’s a lot of sexism to unpick here.
First comes the demands to know who the father of Lana Rhoades baby is. Fans have followed Lana’s love life closely for the last year due to her public relationship with influencer Mike Majlak. However, the pair split recently, with Lana publicly stating that she will keep her romantic life private from now on.
Of course, many assumed Mike was the father, but after a tasteless joke from him on Twitter (he posted about needing a contact for ‘The Maury Show’) he clarified he and Lana are not expecting a child together.
Now, ‘Lana Rhoades baby father’, ‘Lana Rhoades baby daddy’ and ‘Who is the father of Lana Rhoades baby’ are all breakout search terms on Google Trends. Of course, there are some names in there too – notably, ‘Blake Griffin’, the Brooklyn Nets player Lana was rumoured to be dating after her split from Mike.
But one thing is absolutely known about all of this: Lana doesn’t want to tell the world who the baby’s father is. Posting on Twitter, she explained ‘I was in a public relationship for a year prior to this, I’ve learned there are some things I want to keep private and my relationships are one of them.’
Her followers though, do not seem to be respecting that. From speculating anyway to shaming her for being pregnant so soon after her last relationship, the influencer has received a ton of sexist abuse. We say sexist, because it so clearly is.
Whether Lana is pregnant by a new partner or random hook-up is entirely irrelevant to how incredible a life she can give a child – yet she’s being valued based purely on her potential relationship with the father. It shouldn’t matter whether she knows him well, or knows him at all, because any woman – particularly someone in such a privileged position as Lana – is capable of raising a child in a healthy environment regardless of a man being involved.
What all of the vitriol really stems from though is not just stigma around single-motherhood nor slut-shaming, it’s the fact that Lana used to be a sex worker. Working in the porn industry for just one year from 2016-17, Lana continues to be the highest rated female performer on Pornhub three years since her retirement.
Recently, she’s opened up about the trauma she experienced in the industry, shining a light on how exploitative and abusive porn acting is even for the highest-rated stars. And rather than show empathy for that, understand that she’s a multi-faceted human being capable of providing as much love and happiness to a child as anyone else, she continues to be shamed for being involved in sex work.
Read the comments under the announcement and you’ll see countless people condemning her for getting pregnant. ‘Poor kid,’ one comment reads to near 20,000 likes. ‘That kid getting bullied,’ another states to over 35,000 likes.’ Ultimately, near every other comment is a random person detailing how horrible of a life Lana’s child will have merely because their mother was once a pornstar.
The misogynists who cannot respect a woman purely because they have been seen having sex, are the only bullies that would shame that child.
The most ironic thing about that? These people are the exact ones that would make that child’s life difficult at all. The misogynists who cannot respect a woman purely because they have, enjoy or have been seen having sex, are the only bullies that would shame that child. Likely the same ones that pay for, or at least enjoy, the work Lana used to do.
In actuality, Lana Rhoades is a multi-millionaire and entrepreneur who could give any child an incredibly privileged life. More than that, anyone who has followed her appearances on YouTube or her podcast for the past year can see she’s incredibly sweet, mature and has long been dedicated to having a family.
Ultimately, what we’re seeing here is a classic case of misogynists being unable to reconcile sexuality with motherhood. This is a woman they’ve seen have sex countless times, this is a woman they believe to enjoy having sex, a woman unashamed of claiming her sexual agency: she therefore, in their mind, cannot be a good mother. It’s the same way that once women become mothers, they're no longer seen as sexual beings. We can either be mothers, or who can be whores, no in-between.
It may simply come down to the fact that a lot of Lana’s fans are young men, but these are the exact men we should be educating about female sexuality across all phases of our lives. Lana Rhoades' pregnancy announcement being met with such vitriol speaks volumes about how evolved we are when it comes to teaching men that a woman’s value and deservedness of respect does not – and should not – rest on her sexual agency.
When you really think about it, Lana Rhoades is the perfect person to become a mother because she, better than anyone, can teach her future potential sons that exact lesson.