19/06/2015 04:49 BST | Updated 18/06/2016 06:59 BST

This Obsessive Media Focus on the Bodies of New Mothers Is a Terrible Thing for Women

Relentless. Objectifying. Obsessively fixated on the body of a new mother.

I have a dream. It's a simple dream. One where the media stops obsessing about women's bodies. All women's bodies, but especially when they're pregnant or new mothers.


Because this media obsession is bad for women. It's bad for every pregnant women and every women who has a baby and every woman who wants to have a baby one day.

It's also bad for their partners who have to console them and reassure them that it's OK that their body is bigger, or that's OK because they're growing another human or that it hasn't 'snapped back' (whatever the hell that even means) within days of leaving hospital.

I like to look at photos of pregnant celebrities and famous new mums with their babies as much as the next person. Pregnant women are magnificent. New mothers are incredible. New life is something to be celebrated.


Me with my son Remy. Image supplied by Mamamia

But did I miss the memo that said these images should be accompanied by a running commentary on that woman's body? Always. Without exception. Because that's what the audience want. Well, as part of the audience, can I politely say: get stuffed?

I don't want pregnant women and new mothers to be objectified mercilessly by creepy journalists writing headlines and captions praising or mocking their shape. I don't want faux concern that they're 'struggling with their changing shape" or the equally faux gushing about how impressive it is that they're "looking trim and terrific so soon after giving birth".


Another example of women being mocked in the headlines. Image supplied by Mamamia.

Who are you people? This was an almost full-page shot near the front of a major city newspaper a couple of months ago. Well done, photographer, for zooming in on a new mother's bum. Congratulations art department, for blowing it up so we can all get a really really good look. Superb work sub-editor who wrote the vacuous caption that reduces a woman's worth after giving birth to the size of her arse.

Seriously, who are the people who do this stuff? Is it women who haven't had babies yet? Is it men who have never watched their partner be consumed by the pressure and anxiety that goes with 'getting her baby body back'?

Because surely it's not women who have had children? Surely no woman could be so self-loathing as to willingly feed the media machine that objectifies the bodies of mothers and pregnant women so relentlessly?

Relentless. Objectifying. Obsessively fixated on the body of a new mother. What the hell is this about? Who does it benefit? Who wants it? Because I'm honestly baffled.

Being pregnant makes you feel vulnerable. Being a new mother makes you feel vulnerable. And these things are hard enough without this appalling public scrutiny. And you don't have to be famous to feel it.

Words like "flaunting" and "unveiling" when it comes to the bodies of a new mother - or any woman - are abhorrent. She is not a stripper. She is not a prize or a package. She is a person. Who just grew and birthed another person. And she deserves some respect.

This post was originally published on Mamamia.com.au.