Is Breeding a Sin?
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Let me get this straight. One spotlight hogging, serial baby-maker is a paragon of sexiness and virtue, and the other is a crazed lunatic.
They're doppelgangers, save one detail. But that detail seems to be a red herring, as red as a newborn baby's head.
When Angelina Jolie, had twins last summer, increasing the Jolie-Pitt brood to six, People magazine paid a record seven-figure sum for exclusive photos of the wrinkly grubs. Both halves of Brangelina have since said plenty about how six isn't enough: not only are new international adoptions in the works, but this week's stories say Jolie plans to be pregnant with their seventh child by summer. Despite reports that her doctors have encouraged her to wait, at least one article praises Jolie for "always managing to achieve what she wants." And when the famous baby-making duo talks about the magic number 10, the male half gets called the sexiest dad alive, and Jolie is celebrated as a kind of mother superior.
Enter Nadya Suleman, who gave birth to octuplets a few weeks ago, and met with a slightly different reception in the public waiting room. Revulsion, ridicule and death threats were there to welcome her new (almost) soccer team into the world. Time reports that a talk radio host called her a freak, and said his listeners were prepared to boycott any company that offered help to her or her babies. And Jimmy Kimmel joked that even "golden retrievers do not have that many kids."
Spot the difference...
Hmmm, let's review. Both Jolie and Suleman have long dark hair, oversized lips and fair skin, and there's been more than one comment about their striking resemblance. Both were born and raised in L.A. Both are 33 years old, born in 1975.
Both are unmarried in a legal and religious sense, even though Jolie and Pitt are in a relationship. Both Jolie and Suleman are divorced (in the same year, actually). Until recently, both had six children under the age of eight, (Suleman: seven, six, five, three, plus two-year-old twins; Jolie: seven, five, four, two, and infant twins). Both have reportedly relied on IVF for their most recent global population efforts, and are both on a course to raise the world's fertility rate from its overall average of 2.1 to about 10.
The similarities don't end there. Both have dysfunctional parents -- Suleman says as much in her own words and cites it as the main reason she wants to devote her life to parenting. Jolie is estranged from dad, John Voight, who left her mom when Jolie was two years old.
Neither mom parents single-handedly. Suleman's parents help raise the kids. Jolie has a staff of nannies, and of course, Pitt.
Both are media magnets -- Jolie is a movie star and master media manipulator who earns millions based on her image, and Suleman held her own against MSNBC's Ann Curry and has reportedly hired PR help in order to try to make millions out of her image -- like through a reality TV show (e.g. the Duggars of "17 Kids and Counting," or "Jon and Kate Plus Eight").
Both have similar priorities. Of hers, Jolie said last week: "I'd say kids first -- kids, woman to Brad, and then my work internationally, and being a kind of... trying to educate myself and trying to learn about the world and... trying to do some good things while I'm alive." As for acting, she laughed, "So what is that, fourth?"
Of hers, Suleman told MSNBC this week that her top priority is to be a good mother. "I'm providing myself to my children, I'm loving them unconditionally and accepting them unconditionally. I'll stop my life for them, and hold them... and love them." And said her next priority is to go back to school to improve herself through a master's degree in counseling, so she can provide financially for her children.