So I'm shopping at Woolworths today because we had NOTHING in the house to eat. Somehow we ate everything. Even the ingredients to -gasp- cook something. They were gone too. And I walk past the magazines and see the Woman's Day cover with one of those "BODIES AFTER BABIES" bloody coverlines that I loathe, accompanied by some chick I didn't recognise posing in a bikini with a baby absurdly placed on her hip.
On closer inspection, I discovered it was Poppy Montgomery and her POST-BABY BODY. Woo. And hoo.
Here is the shot (bought by Woman's Day from People)
How ironic that I had just spent my morning nodding my head vigorously while reading an editorial in the SMH about how far we've come (not) from pregnancy and motherhood being something to hide back in the 50s to something so sexualised that unless we conform to the Yummy Mummy ideal (like Ms Montgomery), we may as well hang our heads with shame.
The opinion piece by academics Sue Goodwin and Kate Huppatz said:
The yummy mummy phenomenon inspires passionate responses, from
lust and admiration to approbation and contempt. But does it help
or hinder women?
There is no doubt yummy motherhood has an upside. The taboo
surrounding pregnancy did, after all, hold sway through most of the
20th century. From the prudish Victorian times on, pregnant women
and new mums were regarded as, if not abject, then at least in poor
…Yummy motherhood has allowed mothers to get out in public, to
hang in groups at cafes. It has also made normal clothes (including
skintight garments) acceptable for pregnant women. Mothers can now
be seen as sexually attractive. More importantly, it has allowed
them to be "hot".
….But reports of "pregorexia" – striving to stay thin during
pregnancy – remind us of the dark underbelly of these positive
changes. And pregorexia is not the only alarming trend surrounding
the yummy mummy phenomenon. "Mummy makeover" is the term used to
denote the set of radical cosmetic surgical procedures that women
increasingly undergo post-birth. Some mothers claim to find a mummy
makeover liberating but both pregorexia and the mummy makeover aim
to eradicate the maternal body.
Both of these trends demonstrate how the idealisation of
youthfulness has crossed into the maternal realm – women are
expected to appear skinny and toned whatever their age and whether
they've had children or not. Ironically, this means that while
there has been much "motherhype" of late, mothers continue to sit
uneasily in the public eye. It seems that mothers are
simultaneously celebrated and eradicated.
The yummy mummy phenomenon, therefore, has a downside. In some
ways, it seems our attitudes to motherhood have not shifted all
that much since the days when pregnant women were pressured to stay
hidden and indoors. We just express our ambivalence about
motherhood and pregnancy in different ways. In particular, while
the pregnant and post-pregnant body has been sexualised, unless it
conforms to a rigorous youthful and skinny ideal it is considered
Progress. Oh wait. The opposite.