Jessica Simpson threw on some cut-off denim shorts yesterday and tabloids had a field day. No nip slip shot required. Everyone from Us Weekly to the predictable Daily Mail is a buzz with her outfit choice (or her stylist’s) with a handful of publications suggesting that she is back in her 2005 Daisy Dukes. Tell me, why is it that whenever women have children, the press insists on consistently comparing their bodies to a pre-baby time?
Clearly, pre-baby bodies are the gold standard of hotness by which all women in the entertainment industry assert themselves economically. And it’s within this same tenacious convention that women who have children, and thus — surprise, surprise — their bodies change, must constantly be doomed to stare at pictures of themselves pre-pregnancy. Here enters that obligatory nude photo shoot that so many celebrity mothers partake in nowadays in which the public is invited to study every inch of their form for even the slightest hint of pregnancy. No big shock here, but the ladies who can fool their audiences are the winners. Gold stars for those who can convince even the skeptical eye that they’ve never produced human life.
But even Jessica Simpson, who has been actively proclaiming that she’s “not a supermodel” as a walking billboard for Weight Watchers, is not exempt. While her very public dedication to weight loss no doubt prompts others to crane their necks as she dons cut-off shorts, the fact that the press is so quick to usher her next to those pre-baby Daisy Duke images goes a considerable step further. The not so subtle jab is just what media outlets have been waiting for, as God forbid she throw on a tank top she once wore in 1999 and not resemble that same, exactly svelte, 19-year-old.
As uncomfortable as it may be for all parties under patriarchal ideals of beauty, women’s bodies do change after carrying a human. Shocking, I know. But the sooner we can culturally swallow that truth, the sooner we can get away from the desperateness to constantly compare them to their pre-baby forms.
(photo: David Tonnessen, PacificCoastNews.com)