Thank God for Miranda Kerr’s ‘mum-bod’
In case you missed it, former 'angel' and widely fawned-over goddess Miranda Kerr had a second child six months ago.
And according to Marie Claire, who published a feature with the supermodel in their latest issue, "the rock-hard abs she was famous for back in her Victoria's Secret modelling days are no longer visible."
Quelle horreur! The business owner said she was "fine" with her body, staggeringly, despite the fact that she's birthed two children and doesn't look like exactly the way she did as a catwalk angel for Victoria's Secret.
It's a line meant to inspire some hope in us mere mortals, but it does imply that something has been lost or 'let go'. The media is good at subtly suggesting that a woman's physical form is somehow destroyed beyond all recognition after childbirth, and that all women are naturally desperate to return to their pre-baby factory settings (i.e. skinny AF as soon as possible). And that's not what body positivity is about.
Kerr herself seems to have the right idea about her body, probably because she's spent 20 years being valued entirely for her looks and now has enough money in the bank and fulfillment via her businesses and family to not give a s**t whether she puts on a kilo or ten. Would she look better or worse at a bigger size? Who cares. But even she sounds like she's trying a little too hard to convince herself when she says, "It's really important as women that we're gentle with ourselves and don't feel like we have to snap back into shape after a baby. It's OK, I've got a mum-bod and it's fine!"
There is already so much existing pressure on women around how their bodies look. And as anyone who has ever had a baby can attest, we're very aware that we're not supposed to let our weight get away from us; it is the rascally labrador we must make sure never gets off the leash. The baby books, apps and forums bombard the expecting mother that they need to keep a watchful eye on their bodies. Like, oh really, we'd forgotten for two minutes.
The preggo bible, What To Expect When You're Expecting, is a particularly notorious offender when it comes to weight being in the forefront of concern, reminding you frequently to slow down the snack train. My pregnancy apps also give me 'cute' pop-up opportunities to track my current weight (no thanks) and ideas for healthy meals and calorie-controlled snacks, including suggestions like only eating the bottom of a hamburger bun, not the top (get f**ked).
What irks me the most is that all this smug weight management advice is always passed off as a cheeky joke between us girls. As in, 'Just because you're eating for two, don't think you can double that scoop of Ben & Jerry's!'. Why are we being spoken to like we're morons? This patronising language is damaging and unhelpful to vulnerable women who may not be able to laugh it off easily.
We loved when 'dad bods' became chic a few years ago thanks to Ben Affleck and Chris Pratt. It was a chance for us to gaze analytically at men's imperfect bodies and think, 'ha ha, now you too are demonised by impossible beauty standards and expectations of thinness! Suckers!' But somehow men didn't feel shamed or triggered by any of this. Instead, they embraced it.
But can you imagine if they got pregnant and had to deal with body pressures and condescending diet advice? 'You might be growing a little mini-Bruce inside your gut, but now is not the time to indulge in that third hotdog at the footy!' There would be uproar.
Everything for women is always about 'getting back' to some mythical point in time when you were an ideal weight, perhaps at pre-puberty or maybe even when you were a foetus yourself and clocked in at a reasonable 100 grams. (Side note: there's a concept - the foetus Diet! Get in shape fast with amniotic fluids and daily tumble rolls inside a uterus!)
Women have been doing this birth business for a long time. We understand rationally that being pregnant doesn't give us a free pass to fang down as many cheese toasties as we can.
Body positivity is kindness and the maturity to accept our body as it changes, and, more importantly, that female shapes other than 'model ready' aren't unattractive or 'ruined'.
If men gave birth, there would be no inane talk of bouncing back, or of toning workouts designed to help them 'slip back into their pre-baby skinnies in no time.' They'd be allowed to grow the baby without panic and get on with being a parent in bloody peace, as they should. And absent from the conversation would be apology, faux acceptance, or any 'it's totally fine!' declarations about the loss of their abs.
Pia Careedy is a writer, content producer and podcaster.