This past Sunday the NY Times Style section featured a piece about the how hard the culture is on celebrity moms. The piece started out with a personal story by its author, Janice Min, (the editorial director of the Hollywood Reporter) about how mortified she was that the women who give her her manicures in LA were shocked that her 4 month post partum body was not a pre delivery body.
“When your baby due?”
First, I’m irked. Then embarrassed. And then when I answer, “Actually, I just had a baby,” I am met with blank stares.
Harsh. Janice just wants to be cut a break as she says in the piece. She's had three kids, and really, why should she be held to the same type of rules that celebrity women are held to.
What Janice doesn't say until further down in the story is that she is one of the people to blame for this unyielding obsession with women and babies and women's post baby bodies that has been enveloping the celebrity world.
She ran US Magazine for six years.
She says in her moment of confession that she "delivered what the young female audience wanted: cute moms and babies." In her quest for absolution she underestimates the role of these magazines. She helped set the agenda. She helped create the celebrity obsessed culture where having a baby and looking fantastic the next week was a requirement. And on her watch she created the world where Jessica Simpson is so freaked out about her preganancy weight gain and the way the tabloids talk about her that the moment she has her baby she signs up to be a spokesperson for Weight Watchers cause at least that will give her a little slack in the fight to regain her body. And on her watch she created the world which stalks new moms Bryce Dallas Howard and Aishwarya Rai whom she mentions in her piece as being hounded for not adhering to our expectations of what celebrity moms of newborns should be.
And wouldn't you know it this stuff bleeds over to real people (as if celebrities are not real people) where manicurists make their customers feel like they have all gone to pot.
Min is quite right about being concerned for her daughter's future. But, for my part, it would have been great had Min thought about this maybe a decade ago.
Can a Mom Get a Break? (NY Times)