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Keke Palmer's Pregnancy Is Not Going Down Well With Trolls Online — Why She's Getting Backlash

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Keke Palmer

As one of the most beloved Hollywood figures of the moment, actor Keke Palmer’s surprise announcement of her pregnancy over the weekend has many fans overjoyed. But not everyone is feeling the love.

As news of her announcement began to go viral over the weekend, a backlash to Palmer’s pregnancy ensued.

During her opening monologue while hosting “Saturday Night Live,” Palmer addressed pregnancy rumors, then abruptly and boldly opened her suit jacket to reveal her baby bump.

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But several people on social media seemed incapable of leveling anything but criticism at Palmer for her choice to have a baby.

Many people criticized Keke Palmer's pregnancy and it got misogynistic real fast.

Palmer has been fairly tight-lipped about her personal life, but the 29-year-old has been in a relationship with her baby’s father Darius Jackson since the summer of 2021.

But a long-term, committed relationship hasn’t met the standards many people on social media have set for having a baby. 

Particularly on Facebook, people were very vocal about criticizing Palmer for her marital status.

On one Facebook post, a man commented that Palmer was "doing things backwards" by having a baby before having a wedding, while another sarcastically commented, “Yay more single mother celebrating.”

Others took a more backhanded approach, simultaneously celebrating and criticizing Palmer's announcement. One user wrote, that "any news of a new life is great news," but that "it would be even better news if she were married and setting an example for young women.”

And, of course, the supposed evils of feminism were also called out for supposedly encouraging Palmer to have a baby out of wedlock.

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The condemnations fell flat with many others online, who criticized them as old-fashioned and irrelevant.

It is almost 2023, after all. Is it really that interesting that a person would have a child outside of marriage?

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Palmer's pregnancy has also been met with racist vitriol.

On one Facebook post about Palmer's announcement, one user played on long-held racist stereotypes about Black single mothers by commenting that "it's not a stereotype if it's true."

Other white social media users leveraged Black slang and African American Vernacular English to criticize Palmer for being “proud” of being an "unwed baby mama" and imply that white "Fathers and Mothers" are superior to Black "mamas" and "daddies.

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The discourse points to a major double standard.

Celebrities and regular people alike having children outside marriage is of course nothing new, nor are the double standards at play in the criticisms of Palmer. After all, men are rarely publicly shamed for having children out of wedlock, nor are white female celebrities.

Thankfully, there was plenty of pushback on social media on the misogyny and racism being hurled at Palmer.

One woman on Facebook pointed out that actor Nick Cannon’s 11 kids and counting, many of whom have been conceived outside marriage, elicit mostly collective chuckles rather than criticism. The commenter wrote: “I know ain’t nobody asking if she’s married when Nick got 247 kids with no ring on his finger.”

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Palmer’s pregnancy comes after a long battle with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS

Palmer has been open about her struggles with PCOS, a hormonal disorder that affects the function of the ovaries and often causes irregular periods and ovarian swelling, among many other symptoms. It can also make it very difficult to conceive.

Palmer opened up about her harrowing experience with PCOS in and Instagram post in 2020, saying the condition had been “attacking me from the inside out my entire life and I had no idea.”

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Given the way PCOS impacts a woman’s ability to conceive, many on social media who also struggle with the condition pushed back against criticisms of Palmer.

One user wrote, "Yay! As a fellow PCOS girl, I'm so excited for her!” Another was even more effusive, highlighting how difficult it can be for women who suffer from PCOS to conceive:

“I’m so happy for her! I know it can be harder for women with PCOS to get pregnant. Sending good vibes for a healthy and safe gestational period for both mom and child,” they wrote.

Thankfully, it’s almost 2023 and the people criticizing Palmer for her choice to have a baby seem to be in the minority. But even if they weren’t, it doesn’t seem likely there’s much that could dull Palmer’s joy about her announcement — and that’s just as it should be.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.

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