I stay on the periphery of media and pop culture. Part of me would like to stay up on it, but there is always such harmful messaging that I feel becomes an attack on my psyche. I don’t know if I’m sensitive or if the media is one sick and twisted space to hang out. Instead of just wondering about it in my head I thought I would bring it to you.
While I don’t buy gossip magazines, I DO buy groceries and I can’t help but see time and time again the phenomenon of fat-shaming pregnant women. Unless they have thin legs, and toned arms and you can’t tell they’re pregnant from behind, they are big targets (was that a pun?) for public slander until they come to term, have the baby, AND lose the baby weight as fast as they can.
Of course, this has all been put on my mind from the very public coverage of Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy. So my question is this:
Is this just all about Kim being a media hog (shoot, is that another pun?), or is society doing the most by bashing women for gaining weight while they are pregnant?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it seems to me the scale is tipped (definitely a pun) in the direction of making women feel ashamed about their bodies and making weight gain seem like a fate worse than death!
Issue #1 – One cannot avoid this fat-shaming even if one tries
You may literally have to take up residence under a rock to not see some poor innocent pregnant woman getting clowned for gaining weight!
Again, sure you can have an opinion, but there really isn’t any counter-voice speaking in defense of these women. Every single magazine was comparing Kardashian to Shamu, showing her bloated feet, and comparing her to an outdated sofa. You can’t see that and be unaffected. Any woman currently pregnant or considering a baby can’t help but think, “Man, is that how people see me?” and that is potentially damaging to both the body and the individual’s self-esteem.
By not being able to even pick and choose if you want to receive this message, don’t you think every last individual is impacted by these high expectations placed on women?
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Issue #2 – If the message is that pregnant women can’t gain weight, then who can!?!?
Statistics show that there has been a rise in the number of girls in elementary school who are dieting more and developing eating disorders instead of going the balanced route of staying healthy.
I know women who don’t want to get pregnant just because they don’t want their bodies to change. (Um, what about the miracle of life?) Have we gone too far in pressuring women when they do not even want to procreate due to their waistline?
It sets up a competition where there should be love. When a woman is going to have a baby shouldn’t the focus be on the beautiful event taking place, not about if she can pull off a bikini?
As Emma Gray wrote in the Huffington Post, “These headlines affect how women see themselves and other women and how much time and thought and energy women put into fixing bodies that aren’t broken.”
Issue #3 – Why is so much focus on weight gain in the first place?
Now don’t get me wrong, I think that we should be in good shape and eat right and there are healthy ways to get there, but don’t women represent more than just bikini-ready bodies?
Like Gray points out, “It’s about portraying weight gain as a central tragedy in a woman’s life…even while she’s pregnant,” which seems a bit extreme.
She goes on to say that this kind of bashing can “demonstrate how having a female body that is anything other than thin, whether it be average, overweight or simply pregnant — is being cast as both a crime and a punishment”. Is that message the truth?
I’d like you to weigh in with your opinion. Was this just another media stunt to keep the Kardashian name relevant or are women slaves to society’s expectations of being thin, no matter the circumstance?