By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood May 17, 2012 at 11:56AM
In the last couple days I have seen several disturbing stories about two actresses being harrassed for their post partum appearances. Both Bryce Dallas Howard and Aishwarya Rai have given birth in the last couple of months. Rai is one of the most famous women in India, and has been called by some the most beautiful woman in the world and Dallas Howard is American who recently appeared in The Help.
These photographs and the accompanying comments made me sick to my stomach. Not only do the women have to struggle with having to take care of their newborns, now they have to struggle with an unforgiving press and public decrying their weight gains extolling them to look to Victoria Beckham and Beyonce as role models for a post pregnancy body.
This is so unbelievably ridiculous and shameful. I am appalled by the comments from the public who when looking at the pictures say the most horrible and hateful things. The asses at TMZ (which I will not link to) started off on Bryce Dallas Howard photographing her on Mother's Day no less and picked the headline "It Takes a Village" (she was in the film The Village). They of course, egged on the disgusting comments -- there were 290 of them as of yesterday -- with many people calling her names just because she has gained weight because she had a baby. Imagine what someone would be called if she gained weight and didn't have a baby. Jezebel pointed out the important fact that she has gained 80 pounds with her first pregnancy 5 years ago and that she suffered severe post partum depression. Post Partum depression is is no laughing matter.
Aishwarya Rai is one of the most famous women in India, and the media has been even harsher on her because she is not only known as a actress, but because she also represents many products. She is about to be seen at the Cannes Film Festival and the reports are that she is not back to her pre pregnancy weight. You would think that she committed treason the way she is being treated. It's like a personal affront to the country. There are even You Tube videos highlighting her weight gain.
Ms. Rai has created a package of herself basedon her looks -- which is exactly what the public wants -- and now as she struggles to regain her figure, the Indian public is confronted with the fact that she is a real person who has real struggles just like everyone else. She is no longer the perfect brand.
The unrealistic expectations placed on women are so brutal. I understand wanting to see your favorite star at an event or a film opening where it is their job to present themselves to the world. But there has to be some limit. People need some semblance of privacy and just because you are in the public eye should not mean that you should be afraid to leave your house if you don't look perfect.
I just wish that the men and the women making these horrible comments would think about what it would be like if someone photographed them or their partner walking down the street to get a cup of coffee or go to the doctor soon after they had given birth.