The rabid, slavering obsession with women’s bodies — particularly those in the public eye — continues with Outlander‘s Caitriona Balfe being accused of being pregnant in her own damn tweet thread. Plot twist you’ll definitely see coming: She wasn’t. The actress had her period and was feeling a little bloated — and was not exactly thrilled to share that anticlimactic (and completely personal) explanation.
Here’s the original tweet of Balfe’s that unintentionally launched the rudeness — and subsequent indignation. Balfe was tweeting about a recent TV panel she participated in for the Starz network:
What do you see? We see Fifty Cent with Outlander stars Sam Heughan and the beautiful brilliant lithe Caitriona Balfe (rocking a green print dress we need to Google image search later for the designer). Not much else to see here, folks, right?
Except… oh! Here’s the tweet from the dude that launched a thousand bellies: “Cait, Are you going to be mom? The photo looks like it betrays your pregnancy. If so, congratulations!!!!
Cait, Are you going to be mom?. The photo looks like it betrays your pregnancy. If so, congratulations!!!!
— Alvaro Paredes Manza (@paredesalvaro1) June 4, 2019
Was this Twitter user clueless? Yes, that’s our guess. Did he mean to cause harm? Likely not. But he did. And women everywhere took umbrage on behalf of Balfe, because, in fact, any questions about a woman’s body (in a world where men don’t get asked regularly on the red carpet if they’ve knocked up someone the night before) are just plain unacceptable.
So a new Twitter hashtag was thus birthed into the world: #NotAllStomachsAreWashboards, penned by Balfe herself in a justifiably irked response tweet:
— Caitriona Balfe (@caitrionambalfe) June 4, 2019
The Outlander star inspired other women to show their own bellies. This Twitter trend LIT UP and SCORCHED a little corner of the internet.
— emma ☼ (@evolvebalfe) June 5, 2019
Not flat. Not pregnant.
I did NOT want to take this photo. But you know what? I’m 40 years old and I’ve had two kids and I am PAST the point in my life where I should be giving any fucks about what anyone thinks about my body. #notallstomachsarewashboards pic.twitter.com/Ygskb8bZqN
— Not Pregnant Erin (@erinmangerer) June 5, 2019
— Carolina 💚 (@MCA297) June 5, 2019
Many women (and men) were quick to express their frustration on Balfe’s behalf, tweeting support to the star:
Honestly wtf is going on this is so wildly inappropriate, irrelevant and I applaud you even having the dignity to respond to these people. I despair that women still have to deal with this. You are a proud and inspiring example to us all, Cait. X
— Lauren Lyle (@LlaurenLyle) June 4, 2019
— Richard Rankin (@RikRankin) June 5, 2019
Balfe has been overwhelmed (in a good way!) by all the love. Check out her followup tweet:
All you ladies posting, have made my day. Mad love for you all 😘😘😘 #NotAllStomachsAreWashboards
— Caitriona Balfe (@caitrionambalfe) June 5, 2019
Balfe, who hails from Ireland and got her start as an international model, is not the first woman in the public eye to field pregnancy questions. Jennifer Garner, Chrissy Teigen, Jennifer Aniston and numerous others have found themselves on the receiving end of the inappropriate inquiry time and time again. Any body scrutiny adds up to body shaming, no matter what you think your intention was. So just knock it the hell off. If you’re meant to know someone’s pregnant? Guess what: It’s time-sensitive. You’ll know eventually. In the meantime, keep your speculation to yourself.