Monday, May 28, 2012

The War on Women

An important article from Forbes about the media's obsession with celebrities post baby bodies.

As part of my ever increasing awareness of the subtleties with which media convey the current mores (and in the case of tabloids, bash you over the head), I've started to notice every time someone is fat shaming another person, typically a woman. The current incarnation of this obsession with thinness is the obsession with post baby weight loss. The article says it well:
"State governments cutting funding to women’s health organizations like Planned Parenthood,  the legislature that would’ve made mandatory an invasive vaginal ultrasound for women seeking abortions, Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut for advocating for accessible birth control — these are all obvious moments in the War on Women, obvious attempts at oppression.  But the US Weekly article and every paparazzi photo taken of a recently-postpartumed star absolutely exist on that spectrum, as well.   Scrutinizing these women, praising them for rapid weight loss, stalking them in the weeks after their babies are born (or, in the case of poor Jessica Simpson, stalking her every outing up ’til and including her arrival at the hospital this morning to give birth to daughter Maxwell), it all sends the message that a) their bodies are objects for public consumption and judgement b) that sort of weight loss is an option for every woman and c) that it’s something to aspire to. That, three weeks after having a baby, when most of us are still learning how to breastfeed, and some of us still can’t move around without assistance, we should be aspiring to weight loss." (source)
The thing is though, the media is wrong but we are all complicit in this! In my opinion, at a certain point, standing by and saying nothing is approaching active participation. Strong words, I know and they're not said with judgment but with the knowledge that while the simple act of reading articles about how to lose post baby weight may seem innocuous, its not. Every hit that article gets is sending that magazine/newspaper/television station a message: people are watching it, we're making money so we'll keep doing it!

Lastly, who the heck wants to have it shoved in their face everywhere they go that so and so lost her weight after the baby and on and on. I haven't had a baby but I have the common sense to realize that weight gain is normal, healthy and expected. It should be celebrated; after all, we bring new life into the world! Now while I may know this logically, do you think I would still feel a little badly if I was walking by one of these covers? Or had someone compare me to someone in these magazines? Yes, because I'm human! So if someone with the logic to realize its wrong can feel bad, how on earth does someone who doesn't have that same outlook feel? People like children, teenagers, etc.

My point? I feel we need to go beyond 'I know better' to doing better meaning sending a message to the media.

What do you all think? Is the media being ridiculous? What can we do to inhibit this obsession with women's bodies?

- A

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