Kim Kardashian has her body back. No surgery, haters. So stop your finger-pointing and snide headlines, already. US Weekly calls Kim’s “exclusive” picture proof the ultimate revenge for all the post-baby body bashing stories. And as far as the media (and a large segment of our body conscious society is concerned), that’s all she wrote, folks.
But is it, really?
I’ll bet you already know what I think. And it rhymes with “bullshit.”
Stories like this — along with every one of said headlines bashing Kim’s pregnant and post-baby body up till now — are sending us the very message that I truly believe to be at the core of body image issues for so many women, be they mothers or not. They tell us that our bodies (and what they look like) are more important than our health (and how we feel about ourselves.) They tell us that flat abs and a trim waistline matter more than our confidence and self-worth. And we buy it. Mother or not, women have been brain-washed to accept that personal growth isn’t as important as the how many calories we consumed in a given day, how many we need to burn in the next workout, the number on the scale and the one on the tag in our jeans. So we complain about the pounds we gain during pregnancy and we take solace in the “pep” talks our loved ones give to us telling us how we’ll be back to our old selves in no time.
And then we beat ourselves up because we didn’t reach the finish line that society and the media keep moving further away from us. Instead of bitching, we internalize. We criticize. And our daughters see us picking ourselves apart in the mirror, grumbling about our too soft bellies and our fuller thighs. They pick up on that. And then they grow to accept our body image issues as their own.
I want to know why. Why do we do this to ourselves? We take societies perceptions of beauty as our own, always seeing ourselves from the outward perspective instead of from our own. Do these jeans make me look fat? Do I have arm-flab? Should I suck in my gut more? What about my ass? Is it pretty and perky?
Why do we take pride in building ourselves up by pointing out the flaws in others? Oh my God, did you see so and so? She’s gained so much weight since we saw her last. That dress looks so much better on me than on her. Or even comments like She looks anorexic. Someone give her a cheeseburger.
Why is “getting our bodies back” the only socially acceptable form of validation and self worth?
Let me be clear: I am not knocking fitness and health. But I am bitching about the fact that our sacrifices as mothers and our love for our children means nothing when it comes to helping us all understand that how others perceive us is not meant to be our only qualifier in life.
Newsflash: It’s not.
So how do we move beyond the celeb-body obsession and come into that place where we can stop picking our reflections apart and instead start to make friends with the woman looking back on the other side of the mirror?
We take that first step. We treat the woman in the mirror like we do our friends. We remind her of her self-worth and her true beauty. We tell her that we love her just the way she is. And then we remind her that she should, too.