When it comes to how new moms are portrayed in the media, the A Beautiful Body Project was not satisfied. There are few things out there more confusing than the “post-baby body.” We know that women’s bodies have just done the miraculous–given birth to another human being. And yet we still see them subjected to innumerable standards so their bodies, despite experiencing a (planned) trauma, can look identical to their pre-pregnancy states and thereby be deemed acceptable to society. That is, slender and toned and flawless in complexion. However, projects like A Beautiful Body and its book, The Bodies of Mothers, aim to show a wider array of women’s figures rather than the photoshopped-to-death ones we’re used to seeing.
Photographer Jade Beall snapped about 80 beautiful primarily black and white nude- and semi-nude portraits of women whose bodies have been affected by pregnancy in some way. Some of the women have sagging skin, some have bumps, others have stretch marks (a thing I have plenty of and do not hate anymore)–all are portrayed in a happy, beautiful way rather than as “befores” for some messed up diet or exercising product.
According to the Daily Mail (who is covering something positive for a change!), Beall’s pursuit of making the post-baby body ideal less ubiquitous to childbirth started when she herself became a mom.
Beall, who lives in Arizona, says she suffered from poor self-image all of her life, but that it was only after she become pregnant that she began to love her body.
After giving birth she once again fell into a trough of self-loathing and became obsessed with losing weight.
But when she posted a nude self-portrait online that showed her breast-feeding her baby son it went viral and was shared around the world.
Thanks to the huge media interest in her project, Beall then decided to create a series of photos showing ‘real’ and inspiring women of all different ages, shapes and sizes, saying that she hoped to inspire future generations of woman to embrace their beauty just as they are.
As a result of Beall’s determination and talent, as well as the obvious need for more art like this, the photographer’s Kickstarter for the project garnered $60,000 in pledges. Amazing, right?
Pressure on new mothers to look good and be “perfect” is rampant in the media. And it isn’t just us normals contending with the stigma against bodily changes; celebrities, who typically possess the means to have their kids taken care of by a nanny and have access to fancy gyms or personal trainers and dietitians, are dissected by the paparazzi for their looks. Not too long ago, Kim Kardashian was called “desperate to be sexy again” and accused of getting plastic surgery to get her “pre-baby body” back. She responded with justifiable frustration, as any of us would if we were being accused of going under the knife right after having a baby. In all seriousness, why is it not enough to simply give life to another person? Why do we also need mothers to prove their worthiness via their waistbands?
If you’re interested in supporting or purchasing from A Beautiful Body Project, check out its website or Facebook! The Bodies of Mothers will be released on Mother’s Day, making it an excellent gift for any lady in your life you feel deserves some appreciative praise.