There was a great article up yesterday on Jezebel, talking about the new trend of equating baby weight with fat. The article itself is delightfully witty and derisive, and a lot of the comments are pretty excellent too. I really like the person who said “I’m not fat, my fetus is!”
At the same time, the article made me really sad.
One of the things about not really following pop culture is that I tend to catch up cultural trends long after they are passed, and I wasn’t aware that the baby weight issue had gotten so, uhm, big. Basically, the article and the comments were discussing the celebrity trend of losing weight as quickly as possible after giving birth, to get back to pre-baby weight. Celebrities appear totally thin and “normal” within days of birth, thanks to pressure to be all skinny, all the time.
Because obviously your health is less important than your dress size.
I was really horrified to read this, because I had been under the impression that pregnancy was the last get of jail free card when it came to being fat or overweight, since most people understand that when you are incubating another human being, you are going to put on at least a little bit of weight. And sure, I hear some of my pregnant friends complaining about how much weight they are gaining, and stressing out about losing it, but most of them haven’t turned to anorexia as soon as the little blighter pops out to bring their weight down; instead they breastfeed, jog with their infants, and eat healthy diet, and the weight tends to go away naturally. And it’s not their major concern, it’s more one of the many overwhelming and intense things about pregnancy, when your body feels like it is slipping out of your control.
I’ve also noticed that celebrities tend to remain frighteningly thin when they are pregnant. In a Times article a few weeks about about the “baby bump” being the new “hot accessory” (and don’t get me started there), all the pictures were of fairly pregnant celebrities who were still rail thin. They looked…grotesque, honestly. Like those pictures of starving African children with hugely distended bellies and stick-like arms and legs. I remember thinking how sad it was that women feel the pressure to be thin even when they are pregnant, and that women are willing to risk their health and the health of the baby to cater to the idea that women should be thin all the time.
It’s also a major bummer, because celebrities have the power to turn public opinion around. I would love to see curvy, fat, happy, pregnant celebrities flaunting their stretch marks, because it would send a more realistic image to women. The fact of the matter is that when you are pregnant, you gain weight. Straight up. That’s how it works. And I think that you have more important things to worry about while pregnant than how big you’ve gotten. If celebrities weren’t afraid to be fat while pregnant, maybe pregnant women wouldn’t be beating themselves up for their temporary weight gain.
It’s rude to ask how much weight someone has gained at any point, and that includes pregnancy. It’s also rude to ask “when are you due” when you’re talking to someone you don’t know. And it’s just plain ludicrous to glorify thin pregnant women and to force newly post-partum women to drop those pounds, quickly quickly, you don’t want to slip out of the public eye so pass the baby to the nanny and lose that weight! Go! Go!