At my place of employment – which focuses on home decor – we have what you might call a classification system of clientele.
1. Homosexual young couples;
2. Older, retried hetero/homosexual couples
3. Young heterosexual couples (the y chromosome of the pair tends to be there against his will)
4. The lone straight guy who comes and leaves within five minutes (usually this type elevates around Valentine’s day or Mother’s day)
5. The pregnant woman or the woman with a newborn on her maternity leave.
Pretty much on any given day, you’ll see the majority of customers fit into one of these five groups. Believe you me.
So, with my general keenest (which could properly be referred to as ‘creepy curiosity’) of humans, I absolutely love to people watch. I examine the young couples sifting through product, debating different lines for the room in their new house; I eagerly observe the pregnant woman, holding her belly, glowing, as she looks at small knick-knacks and I laugh at the poor schmuk boyfriend who sits next to his girlfriend ‘listening’ while thinking about how there are about 10000 things he would rather be doing.
One thing I have noticed in my little tacit moments of stalking, is how beautiful a woman is after having birth. Regardless of how close the birth was to present time. In other words, women who are 50+ years of age, with full-grown children, or women who still have to support their child completely both fit into this category. At risk of sounding even more unsettling, I find that a woman’s body alters in a very soft and envious way following the birth of a child. Who knows, this could just be a result of my passion to one day be a mother.
My views on this have been strongly disagreed with among many. Namely, I refer to tabloids and the notorious ‘media’. Following the birth of her baby, Kate Middleton received nothing but criticism due to her ‘post baby bump’. OK! magazine (UK) bashed the princess for her ‘baby bump’, interviewed her trainer and ultimately created an uproar among readers. Boycotts did develop and apologies were given.
Regardless of the – much needed – apology, once something is done… it is done.
This, along with a <a href=”www.myfoodandfitnessdiaries.com”>discussion</a> on this blog caused me to think very deeply about my issues, the issues women struggle with day-to-day and how much I despise the current image of beauty.
Often times we become transfixed on what beauty is. Both across centuries and seas the definition of ‘beauty’ varies from on extreme to the next. In some countries and eras, bigger was beautiful. Size, in these locales or time frames, indicate wealth or health. These individuals have enough money to access food and goods, thereby allowing them gain a sufficient amount of weight. Therefore, the larger, the more desirable. In contrast, should we look at ‘beauty’ in America circa 1960-1970 we are surrounded by images of Twiggy or other models sporting relatively ‘boyish’ figures. Then, should we move forward into later days, curves and slim waists take the cake.
What doesn’t ever seem to shout beautiful these days is… post-baby bumps.
In my days of meekly scanning the tabloids in the moments I wait to scan my items in at any given store, I have yet to see one stating: “Beautiful Baby Bump!” or “Actress displays beautiful post-baby belly with newborn at hospital”. Why? Because society has caused the world to deem anything over a size 4 unworthy of beauty status. Even if is natural, it isn’t right.
How ridiculous is that, eh?
Lately I have been watching a show called ‘Drop Dead Diva’. The synopsis is pretty cute: a young, attractive model gets into a car accident and is then reincarnated into a plus-size lawyer. The whole show is a moral based on ‘beautiful is what you make it’ and ‘it’s what is on the inside’, so obviously I am into it.
I one of the episodes, the main character, Jane, goes into a fashion store to purchase this dress she has always wanted. First, she struggles with less-than-professional treatment from the employees. Instead of being helpful, they resort to unfair scoffing and over-all disinterest. Following that, when Jane questions if they have anything over a size 10, the store manager actually asks her to leave.
Now, I have never seen this happen, so I am not about to suggest that this was no an exaggeration, however I do not feel that this is completely out of the realm of possibility. First of all, while I understand that we should promote a healthy image, I do not think that ‘healthy’ means ‘below size 10’. I also do not think ‘healthy’ means ‘no baby bump following pregnancy’. Why is it that in so many cases, women need to go to a specific store to get clothes to fit them? And why is it that women actually have to worry during their pregnancy about the possibility of having an undesirable post-baby physique?
A woman’s body, regardless of its size or shape, should be celebrated. It is designed to give life. With diet and exercise, a lot of women tend to lose sight of what is truly important. Why run those extra laps? Are the needed? Why get so transfixed on this diet or that diet? As my nutritionist said the other day, ‘I highly doubt the cavemen said ‘I don’t think I’ll eat that meat, I just had some blueberries an hour ago’.
That is why, lately, I’ve made a commitment to never do without purpose. My work outs are designed to increase my core strength, my balance, my flexibility while defining muscle and most important, clearing my mind, my diet is made to help my gain weight to a level where I will be healthy. If any action does not properly parallel with these goals, I stop. We should not be overwhelmed by this need to be what beautiful is because by the time we get there, it’ll most likely be something completely different.
Be yourself. Whatever that is. Embrace it and love it. Don’t let someone else tell you who you are suppose to be.