Finally it seems like we’re at a tipping point regarding the unrelenting (and totally bogus) pressure placed upon new moms (make that all women, actually) by the incessant chronicling of just how fast celebrities manage to drop their baby weight and somehow look even better than they did before having kids.
First, Ashlee Wells Jackson, a Chicago-based photographer, has created the 4th Trimester Body Project, a compilation of photos pulled together because “women are judged too crudely on the way we look and are often told we don’t measure up,” as Jackson writes on her web site. “No real person can compete with the tools in Photoshop and glossy magazine covers, “ she adds. “And because motherhood is sacred and should be celebrated.”
Oh, hells yes.
Then there’s a new book called The Bodies of Mothers by photographer Jade Beall that chronicles the journeys of fifty moms from “self doubt to body confidence,” which she’s made because she’s felt “unbeautiful” for more than thirty years.
The book gives voice to women who feel “too fat, too skinny, too dark-skinned, too pale, too old, too saggy-breasted, too wrinkly, too pimply, too short or whatever other story inhibits us from completely loving ourselves just as we are.”
And if you happen to be a photographer keen to unearth the unretouched stories of real women, Beall’s A Beautiful Body Project is looking for people like you to keep documenting how real women are experiencing their bodies in our photoshopped cultural climate.
Aussie photographer Taryn Brumfitt is also adding to the pushback by creating a Kickstarter campaign and web site called Body Image Movement to try to raise $200,000 to fund a documentary that she hopes will upend our self-loathing and dissatisfaction.
And I mean really, can you think of a better place to spend a few bucks?
Finally, there’s British singer Kerry Katona who apparently suffered a nearly traumatic labor delivering her daughter five weeks ago.
Not only did she survive, this courageous lady — and sadly, I really do think it takes courage to do what she’s doing — is celebrating by actually leaving the house (in a bikini, no less!) before dropping ANY of her baby weight.
So let’s all stand with these revolutionary women, shall we? Maybe then we’ll finally be able to stop all the hating on ourselves.
Audrey D. Brashich is the author of All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty.