I admit to never really seeing The Hills, so I had a difficult time caring about just who Kristin Cavallari was upon hearing about her baby. But after reading her response to Us Weekly‘s assertion about her post-pregnancy body, I think I actually like this seemingly generic reality (or whatever The Hills is) star.
Us Weekly decided to tell the world that Cavallari, who gave birth just a month ago, is already back to her pre-pregnancy weight. And considering not instantaneously losing weight after you’ve just spent nine exhausting months with a little person growing inside of you is a big middle finger to the world and deserving of public shaming, I imagine that Us Weekly assumed they were somehow doing Cavallari a favor. You know, “complimenting” her by…well, by not criticizing her the asshole way they do every other post-pregnancy star.
I also imagine they were not prepared for Cavallari’s irritated Twitter response:
I haven’t lost all of my baby weight yet. Thats sending the wrong message to women.
— Kristin Cavallari (@KristinCav) September 21, 2012
Damn right, Cavvy (I’m pretending we’re friends now) — it is sending the wrong message to women. Granted, she does look great:
But regardless of how much weight she has or hasn’t lost, Us Weekly is still saying that after the aforementioned nine months involved in producing a human being, people have the right to judge you: if you’re in excellent shape, you’re a success. If not, you are an abysmal failure. How dare you offend us with your body that has just performed one of the most incredible things humans can possibly do? Into the stocks with you! Begone, wretched baby-spawning beast!
But seriously: why are we so obsessed with famous people’s pregnant bodies? Tabloids speculating on whether or not somebody might be pregnant is somewhat interesting (as a side note: if I were Kate Middleton, I would just drink pure vodka in public every few months, pretend it was water and see how many tabloids covers read: “MIDDLETON’S MAYBE PREGNANT MAYBE AGAIN”). Speculating on what the life of a celebrity kid is like? Sure! Sounds adorable. Maybe their teddybears all have diamond eyes, who knows? Speculating on why women haven’t lost weight 30 days after pushing a seven pound child through their vaginas after carrying her or him around for, oh, 38 weeks? No. Not interesting. Just really, really ridiculous.
And yet it’s still expected…
Lately, stars like Hilary Duff and Jessica Simpson have had to deal with constant snarky articles about their post-baby weights. Sure, tabloids and magazines will feign admiration and compassion for new moms. But within four weeks, they’re tapping their watches, wondering when those previously beloved mothers will start fitting into those skinny jeans once more.
It almost seems like some stars who quickly lose the weight do it in part because they know what’s happening to Duff and Simpson in the media would happen to them, too. Beyonce, who reportedly lost 60 pounds, told an audience at her first concert after giving birth, “Y’all have no idea how hard I worked. I had to lose 60 pounds! They had me on that treadmill — I ate lettuce!” Jessica Alba told Lucky that she was “practically starving” in order to lose weight. Although that was likely hyperbole on her part, it nevertheless reveals how much pressure there is not just to be thin, but to be in top physical form even when it may be medically difficult for you to do so.
But this doesn’t just affect celebrities; it affects every woman who is, has been or will someday be pregnant during their lives.
As Cavallari said, it sends a terrible message — that looking good after giving birth is somehow an essential part of the overall experience when, of course, it isn’t. Yes, it’s great if you can naturally go back to your original size right after giving birth! But it’s simply not realistic for the average woman who does not have a nanny to watch the children while working with an expensive personal trainer, eating only perfectly portioned meals designed by nutritionists and prepared by personal chefs.
The average woman, in fact, may or may not receive maternity leave if they have a job, may or may not have a stay-at-home partner to care for the child, can perhaps afford the bare minimum necessary for childcare services like babysitters and is often exhausted when the day is done. There’s often no time, money or energy to go towards that bikini-ready-bod bullshit and it’s insulting, as well as sexist, to imply that women should. After all, when was the last time you read a headline saying, “Mike Comrie Still Looks Rough 6 Months After Baby’s Birth”?
In conclusion: shut up about post-pregnant folks, Us Weekly. When even the people you compliment are rejecting your flavor of stupidity, it’s time to give it up.