The pressure women face to get back in shape after giving birth is ridiculous. For women in the lime light, there’s even more so with tabloids criticizing those who carry the baby weight too long and heralding those who drop the pounds fast.
Now thanks to social media, you don’t have to be a celebrity to face the scrutiny of the world on your post-baby body. Just log on to Facebook or Instagram and let the self-loathing begin.
In October, the internet blew up when fitness blogger Maria Kang posted the following picture on her Facebook page:
Photo Credit: Maria Kang Facebook
The picture has garnered more than 16 million views and counting, has been shared more than 23,000 times, and has received more than 36,000 comments, many criticizing Kang for fat shaming moms.
Adding insult to injury, a few weeks after her infamous picture was posted, Kang wrote the following on her blog in reaction to news about a plus-size lingerie store called†Curvy Girl:
I woke up this morning to news stories about how overweight nearly obese women should be proud of their bodies (as they posed in lingerie)…We need to change this strange mentality we are breeding in the U.S. and start celebrating people who are a result of hard work, dedication and discipline. Iím not bashing those who are proud and overweight, I am empowering those who are proud and healthy to come out and be the real role models in our society.
Meanwhile, all the way over in Australia,†Taryn Brumfitt,†also a mom to three children, has answered Kang’s picture with her own:
Photo credit: bodyimagemovement.com
The picture shows Brumfitt on the left at a fitness competition she entered after 15 weeks of grueling training and on the right naked one year later after gaining 20 pounds. Her journey, she says, has made her realize that “having the perfect body isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
Like many moms, after having children, Brumfitt struggled with her new body and even considered plastic surgery to get her pre-baby body back, but ultimately decided against it after watching her daughter playing. “I had an epiphany,” she says. “I suddenly thought: How am I ever going to teach Mikaela to love her body unconditionally if I canít do the same? Thatís when I started making changes and decided to feel good about myself.’
Brumfitt is now on a mission to “redefine and rewrite the ideals of beauty.” She says, “Women have been brainwashed into thinking fat, wrinkles and cellulite are bad. They’re not. It’s just a part of being a human being.” She launched the Body Image Movement to help women live happily in their bodies, use positive language regarding their bodies and others, and to prioritize health before beauty.
Given a new study from the UK which found that two-thirds of 13-year-old girls fear weight gain, Brumitfitt’s movement is much needed. The study also found that†one in three girls are upset about their current weight and shape and more than one in four girls restricted their food in the previous three months either by fasting, skipping meals or throwing food away.
The problem is also not exclusively female. While overall the study found that girls are more than twice as likely than boys to be “extremely” worried about gaining weight, or becoming overweight, the study found that one in seven boys restricted their diet in an effort to lose weight.
What kinds of messages are Kang’s sons receiving about their bodies? What about Brumfitt’s children?
I’d much rather have my children receive Brumfitt’s message:
“Society only seems to celebrate one type of body. I say: Screw the beauty and diet industries that prey on womenís insecurities, become unstoppable and learn to love your body from the inside out.”
What about you?
Photo Credit: nameofphotographer