I've been watching the new NBC show "Up All Night" starring Christina Applegate (who is also the show's creator) and SNL alum Maya Rudolph. It's a show aimed right at the sleep-deprived jugular of anyone who is or ever has been a new parent. Christina Applegate is a new mom whose husband stays home to care for their baby and Maya Rudolph is her best friend and boss, a childless diva who's a big baby herself. A hilarious big baby.
These women are funny. And they know what we, the sleep-deprived masses, find funny because they themselves are part of the sleep-deprived masses.
But I also watch this show based on principle; both Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph look a little different from their previous TV appearances. Their bodies are rounder. Softer. Fuller. More than a handful, as they say. They're sporting what is commonly known as "baby weight" -- as in "She hasn't really lost the baby weight." -- this dreaded thing we all accept as temporary until we grind ourselves back to "normal."
Normal, that's funny. Like there will ever be a normal again. Like baby weight is a condition you can cure. Christina Applegate's baby was born over a year ago; by Hollywood's standards, she should have lost the baby weight 11 months ago. But maybe this isn't baby weight -- maybe it's the new Christina. A woman whose life has changed and her body has changed to reflect that; she hasn't simply "gained weight"... her body has morphed into a bearer of life.
But no one said, "Let's delay shooting until the girls get into shape!" Instead of kowtowing to the unrealistic standard of beauty fed to us by the (mostly male) media mucky mucks, Christina and Maya have hijacked the airwaves by daring to star in a TV show while mothering, with mothering bodies, without a flow-y peasant blouse in sight. They show off their curves in pencil skirts and tight belts and plunging necklines, never apologizing for the shape that was created by the act of nurturing. And it's hot. It's hot in a very powerful way.
Their new bodies are substantial and meaningful. And these are the bodies that rule the world. They are the epitome of womanly, with a heft that is curvy and vibrant to the touch. These are the bodies that say "Go to your room!" and "I deserve better than that." and "I will love you with a fierceness you have never seen."
My own body has taken on this shape. I admit, I don't care for the rolls, but I'm digging the fullness of my curve. The way I look like a grown-up and not a girl. My girlish figure is from another era when I didn't nurture and protect anyone but myself. I see people with their fragile, girlish hips and I think, "How do you rule the world with those hips? Is your love precious and fragile like your hips?" And by the frequency of the ass-grabbing in my house, I can confirm that my husband is digging the womanly version of me, too. He assures me that 20 more pounds of naked is still naked. And naked is good. He emphasizes this a lot. Naked is good.
I point these women out not to embarrass them but because they inspire me. Because they are redefining sexy and showing me how to see the sexiness in my full booty. I watch this show religiously so that the mostly male media mucky mucks will have no reason to say "Why don't you girls slim down a little. I think it'll give us a ratings boost."
They have left their girlish figures behind for something far more desirable. We just have to convince the rest of the world that they're onto something. Won't you join me?