"Body back after baby!" screams the headline.
"How I got my body back!" screams another.
"My body is back!"
What does it even mean to get one's body "back"? Was it stolen? Did it run away like a lost cat? And did the celebrity on the cover get ALL of it back? Has she inspected herself carefully? Maybe she thinks it's all "back" but there is still a leg or an arm or a pinky toe missing. Look closely, my dear!
"I'm on the cover of a magazine because an editor has chosen to glorify my bikini body and contribute to an already unhealthy societal obsession with rapid postnatal weight loss!" is what the headline should really say... if there was enough room.
And it is rapid postnatal weight loss. After all, would I have read about Russian model Elena Perminova in US Weekly had she not gotten her "body back" lickety-split?
"Most ladies like to have the better part of a year to get their post-baby bodies back in shape, but Russian supermodel Elena Perminova was determined to get her lithe frame back in record time: two months!" screamed US Weekly.
"'I started [exercising] just two weeks afterwards, even though I had a Cesarean," said Perminova.
Cool beans, Elena Perminova! Even though women are told to hold off six to eight weeks post Cesarean before embarking on rigorous exercise regimes, why wait? I mean, what do you have to lose except... your stitches?
And then there is Tori Spelling. Tori is a perennial perinatal tabloid fixture. She has posed post-childbirth in bikinis many, many times. In an April 2013 issue of US Weekly, she donned a bikini and gave readers advice on how she lost weight after having baby number four.
"The last thing on my mind was getting my body back," the actress and reality star said at the time.
Her weight loss, she said, could be credited to swimming. She never worried about what she ate. "...I have never once counted calories. I'm a big believer in eating healthy," she said.
Except that she's not. Fast forward six months later when Tori came out with her latest memoir and admitted she had lied about how she lost the baby weight. She wrote that she was actually on the "Just Keep Your F*****g Mouth Shut And Eat Air Diet."
"My publicist had given me clear instructions about what to say about my weight loss," she wrote. "So I said that I swam... I can't do much more than doggie paddle." (Did you hear the sound of her publicist getting hurled under a big bus?)
Why does this matter? Why do I care what Tori Spelling and some random model are doing? It only really matters to me for one reason: There are real, non-celebrity women out there who are influenced by what they see, and they want to lose more weight more quickly at a time when they should be focusing on -- oh, I don't know! -- taking care of their babies and of themselves.
New moms have it hard enough without all of this bikini-body bullsh*t. Ten to 20 percent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression or anxiety. And even the new mothers who don't suffer from postpartum depression or anxiety have it hard. I have three children. I've been through this period. It's mind-blowingly, jaw-droppingly difficult. And it is so dang stupid that we're idolizing women because they did one thing -- they lost their baby weight quickly.
And now? Because of social media, we're no longer just inundated with images of celebrities who've lost weight quickly when we are in the supermarket checkout line.
Earlier this month, Kourtney Kardashian, who is a big fan of posing in bikinis soon after giving birth, shared a photo of her scale on Instagram. US Weekly was once again all over it like cocoa butter: "Kourtney Kardashian Celebrates Reaching 120 Pounds Post Giving Birth to Third Child -- See the Scale Proof."
Yippee! Kourtney had chosen an arbitrary number and then reached that arbitrary number in an arbitrary amount of time! (Well, there's your next headline, US Weekly!) Just like she did a few years ago when she posed on the cover of you-probably-know-what-magazine-by-now with the headline "How I Got Thin Fast." What are her secrets to getting THIN FAST? Well, you can read an excerpt from her book Kardashian Konfidential and she'll tell you what she eats:
For my meals, I eat whatever I want... I definitely never deprive myself. If you asked me how often I indulge myself with a food splurge, I'd say everyday. Absolutely. A cheeseburger with fries and a shake is always good. I also love DoubleStuf Oreos. And New York-style pizza with the thin crust. And I love having Mexican food and margaritas.
Who wouldn't want to go on THAT diet?
But the final straw, for me, isn't Kourtney. It may have been when my Facebook feed lit up last week with pictures of a model posing in her underwear at eight and a half months pregnant. I don't know anything about this woman nor am I claiming to know anything about her (or her health or her pregnancy). What upset me was the fame she had achieved instantly for not "looking" pregnant.
"This Pregnant Model Is So Insanely Fit She Has Pregnancy Abs" was the BuzzFeed headline for a post that had been viewed close to two million times.
Pregnancy abs? Pregnancy abs?! Pregnancy freakin' abs?! You know what this means, right? This means that one day we'll yearn for the good old days when celebrities tried to get their bodies BACK in shape AFTER having babies. Because pregnancy abs are now --like the Kardashians--something some people are going to try to keep up with.