Being slim and trim is a good thing, provided you are slim because you eat right and exercise regularly. Slim figure alone does not guarantee good health, and having a few extra curves does not mean you are not healthy and fit. I’m normal weight but I’m planning to start exercising a bit more now that summer is approaching because I don’t want to feel chubby in my bikini.
It’s hard to tell if wanting to lose those love handles means I’m a victim to society’s narrow idea of what women should look like, or if it’s a personal preference. I’d like to think it’s a personal preference, that I simply feel better and healthier without those love handles. But perhaps I would be confident on the beach regardless of love handles if the H&M models on those posters all around town had love handles, too?
I know those models have had all their extra curves removed in Photoshop, so I’m not looking to them to see how I should look like in my bikini. The far bigger problem is how media, especially the tabloids, discuss women’s bodies. A recent example of that is Princess Victoria of Sweden, a proud mother of a month-old baby. She just returned to work, whatever that is, and a tabloid declared how amazing she looked, having shed the pregnancy kilos in a month.
I wish the tabloid had chosen some other angle for the feature. They could have written about how conscientious the Princess is to get back to her duties after only a month’s maternity leave. Or if they absolutely had to make some remark about Victoria’s appearance, they could have said she looks happy and well-being. Focusing on her weight and inviting readers to ogle at her flat belly is particularly disturbing if you remember that the object of the scrutiny used to have a severe eating disorder. And I do mean severe. You could see all the bones on her body and her skin was stretched tight like a drum.
And it’s not just Princess Victoria who gets this treatment from the tabloids after childbirth. I remember a while back when Charlotte Church, a British celebrity, was all over tabloids because she had successfully shed a lot of weight after having a child. One paper discussed the process in detail, the way she had worked off the weight patiently but relentlessly over the period of a year, which was paraded as a healthy example to young mothers who might be tempted to starve themselves to get back to their old measurements as fast as possible.
Now, showing an example of a healthier way to lose weight is a positive thing, but why must the tabloids be so morbidly obsessed with the new mothers’ figures in the first place? Media treats the topic like losing weight should be a woman’s first priority after giving birth. Those celeb mums who succeed in shedding the extra weight get patronising applause and the epithet “hot mama!” from the tabloids, while the ones who stay chubby get their love handles and size 14 bottoms blown up on the front pages for all and sundry to ridicule.
This is grossly unfair because when a male celebrity gains or loses weight, the matter is tactfully hushed up and even the tabloids focus on writing about his career, or about what a good father he is!
- Sweden’s royals release new photos of Princess Estelle (cbsnews.com)
- Crown Princess Victoria Introduces Newborn Daughter (people.com)