Entertainment And News

How Kylie Jenner Has Benefited From The Term ‘Baby Mama’ While Black Women Are Stigmatized By It

Photo: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock
Kylie Jenner, Travis Scott

Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott are making headlines once again but this time it’s for a story that was never meant to make it to the press.

After a leaked W Magazine cover story claimed that the pair, who are expecting their second child, have not been in a relationship for two years, many are debating how the Kardashian-Jenner sisters approach motherhood. 

The cover story, which was pulled after ten people died at Scott’s Astroworld festival on November 5, features a pregnant Jenner, Scott and their daughter Stormi posing as a picture perfect family. 

The words “a modern approach” are plastered over an image of Scott and Jenner as W Magazine suggests that they are expanding their family despite not being in a relationship.

The existence of a family dynamic that differs from the traditional nuclear family is nothing new. 

Hence, many questioning why Jenner’s brand of motherhood is framed as some kind of superior concept. 

The Kardashian-Jenner sisters have long found themselves at the center of conversations around the appropriation of Black culture and the double-standards that exist between Black women and others.

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The reality stars have been called out for how their hair, bodies, looks and more have been modeled off Black culture and now, their appropriation of the concept of a “baby mama” is no different. 

Kylie Jenner is being praised while Black single mothers are stigmatized. 

A “baby mama” has been defined as “the mother of a man’s biological child; especially one who is not married to or in a long-term, intimate relationship with the child’s father.”

It is a term taken directly from African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) and is a largely demeaning term used to refer to mothers who have had solely sexual relationships with the fathers of their children. 

Of course, as the term has seeped its way into mainstream media, “baby mama” has become decontextualized from its original meaning and is sometimes used to refer to any single mother, or even any mother at all.

Kanye West once called Kim Kardashian his “baby mama” while the two were very much still together. Travis Scott also rapped about Jenner being a “baby mama” before they officially split. 

But the negative implications of the term, particularly on Black women, have remained. 

As TikToker Maia Wade points out, the prevalence of single Black mothers is a direct consequence of systematic racism — Black men have historically been displaced from their homes due to slavery and modern day mass incarceration.

RELATED: Travis Scott Has Already Been Arrested Twice For Inciting Violence And Injuries At Previous Concerts

   

   

Society has typically ignored these reasons and, instead, mocked Black families for having absent fathers and single mothers. 

If the Kardashian-Jenners were Black, would their single motherhood be looked on so favorably? 

Kourtney Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner are all unmarried mothers to children they share with on-off boyfriends.

And while, of course, there is nothing wrong with this, the media has never treated them the same way they treat Black women or any non-rich woman who is in a similar situation. 

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Their specific brand of single motherhood requires affluence and privilege in order to be free from the negative stigmas associated with being a “baby mama.” 

As Blac Chyna once pointed out in a scathing jab at the Kardashian sisters, if the reality stars were Black their relationship statuses wouldn’t be praised as a “modern approach.”

"If they were black, they'll say it's Ghetto, BUT ALL OF THEM ARE BABY MAMAs," she wrote on Instagram back in May. 

Blac Chyna has also had children with men she is not currently dating, one of them being Rob Kardashian, but never have we seen a magazine spread praising her for being a single mother by choice. 

In her early years as a mother, Jenner proudly wore a necklace that bore the term “baby mama,” she posted Instagram stories playing Scott’s music where he deems her as such and benefited from media attention on her on-off relationship.

Yet, as the years ticked by Jenner remained single, allegations of infidelity followed Scott and a second pregnancy came before there was time to craft a “happy families” narrative. 

Thus, the Kardashian-Jenner media machine needed to create a new narrative in order to take advantage of the term “baby mama” without being held back by its negative associations. 

The W Magazine spread frames Scott and Jenner’s second pregnancy as a novel version of the modern family that is deliberate and planned yet unconventional and daring.

This separates Jenner from the many other women who have had multiple children without being in a traditional relationship and been shamed for it. 

Jenner’s version of being a “baby mama” is now “a modern approach” whereas other women are painted as reckless or irresponsible. 

Whether it’s the Kardashian-Jenners who have created this double-standard or it’s the media’s fault for looking favorably upon rich white women remains up for debate. 

But either way, one thing is clear: single motherhood should be praised regardless of why or how a woman finds herself becoming one. 

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.

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