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The Friday Rant Club – is image everything?

I could take up another Friday Rant on my work situation but to be honest that’s probably getting a bit dull for everyone.

I have nothing further to report. Bossman continues to avoid discussing my memo around flexible working and continues to act like a toddler put into a position of power. I’m considering buying some Ritalin and dosing his coffee to see if that helps…. In fact I’ve gone from ranty to just narked. Hopefully I’ve rediscover my forcefulness when he (finally) decides to talk.

This rant is driven by my body which seems to be buckling under the strain – I’m writing this as I sit in the waiting from at the doctors in fact. Two babies 18 months apart is not a great idea from a physical perspective – something I only discovered after I’d had the two babies… And then discovered all the side effects, most of which appear to be unpleasant.

Why is it that women have to live with the physical consequences of having babies and men get away with nothing. A few grey hairs perhaps but they aren’t the ones having the c-sections, the incontinence, the saggy tummies. They aren’t the ones who see their bodies riddled with stretch marks and in a totally different shape than pre children.

And yet the media seem determined to perpetuate the myth that women should look like a 16 year old girl at all times, even a couple of weeks postpartum.

We are supposed to bear our babies and spring back into a youthful lissomness without hesitation. Our skin must be dewy (or photoshopped to look the same), our hair glossy and without grey, we must eschew lines or shadows or any marks that demonstrate a life lived well.

We must live a life bombarded by images which bear no resemblance to actual reality after hours spent on a computer touching them up.

We must aspire to an image of womanhood that is quite frankly unattainable. And if we fail to live up to this standard and we have the misfortune to be in the public eye then we can expect toe-curlingly awful articles deriding our dress sense, our shape, our size, our ‘lack of self respect’.

A man can be dishevelled and is considered intelligent, a woman can only be decorative. But what if you aren’t one of these fairy-tale women – what is breastfeeding doesn’t make the babyweight fall off, what if you fall into the normal camp of 9 months on/9 months off?

What if unlike Danni Minogue you aren’t chirping about how only three months after having a baby that you haven’t quite lost all the weight but saying you’re happy to wear a crop top or Danielle Lloyd revealing her ‘incredible’ post baby body?

How on earth do those articles make you feel?

Or what about if you’re one of the many women, me included, who end up with pelvic floor issues after childbirth and are barely continent – getting through a day is a big enough challenge without being berated for not going to a gym that you couldn’t attend in case you wet yourself in public because exercise puts even more stress on an already weakened part of your body.

Why on earth can’t we just consider the messages that are being sent out?

Why on earth can’t we see this picture of Imperfect Pages ) and see strong, beautiful mother and nothing else? Why can’t the media give women a break?

What messages are we sending out to our daughters and our sons about how women should look in the real world?

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The Friday Rant Club is a chance to get those niggles, those irritants, those things that make you want to throw a toddler-stylee tantrum off your chest before the weekend.

Go on, let it all out and if you feel like it there’s a rather nice little button over there on the right to show you’re a member.

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16 comments to The Friday Rant Club – is image everything?

  • *cough* between my 3yo & 2yo there is 15months and then there is 17months between 2yo & 8mo! So yeah in the space of 32 months I have had 3 kids! My body has dealt with it remarkably well – well apart from very saggy *everything* but luckily I had no stretchmarks and had easy births with all 4 of my kids.

  • nikhk

    Hmm, in my case, it’s 9 months on, 19 months and still not off… Maybe I’ll get around to shifting it after the next one.

    I can’t bear those awful articles and magazines like Heat, alternately praising and berating the same women for losing weight/gaining weight/being too skinny/having a fabulous bikini body, yada yada yada.

    I’m not entirely happy with the way I look, but I’m damned if I’m going to lose sleep over what other people might think of me. My baby loves me whatever I look like, and that’s the best confidence boost for me.

    • Muddling Along

      Exactly – have stopped reading Heat (and am close to banning it from the house because of the unhealthy scrutiny thing)

      That last comment is exactly it – your baby loves you for you and that’s the bottom line

  • Hear, hear! I completely agree. I’ve been beating myself up about still not fitting in my clothes and all because I’m being told on all sides that I should be perfect. I’m not, and my belly still looks pregnant. But I’m doing the best I can, and that will have to do for now. And if I want a glass of wine I will have one, even if it’s full of calories. Great rant!

    • Muddling Along

      But nobody is perfect so we’re being held up against an ideal that we can’t even hope to achieve which is just plain wrong

      A glass of wine and a relax is the best thing – the whole weight does eventually resolve itself and the newborn haze is not the time to add on extra pressure

  • Knackered Mother

    What does Elle McPherson wear on the school run? Laboutins. Me? Tena Lady. Far more comfortable.

    • Muddling Along

      Don’t knock the tena lady, they are a lifesaver (although got very brave and went on the trampoline at the weekend… clench!)

  • just popped by to let you know there is an award waiting for you on my page.

    Interesting post though. I am too shattered to join in tonight but might have to join in the Friday rant another week. I am currently on a health and fitness kick but not because I feel pressured to. Only two weeks ago I had no energy and was an exhausted, tired Mummy. Feel like a much better Mummy already, with more energy to run around and play so that can only be good! I Still have away to go but do feel healthier and fitter a stone lighter :-)

  • oh just read that back and I haven’t lost a stone yet, just think I will feel better when I have x

  • Kirsty

    Thanks for the link. I’m really pleased that I made people think “strong, beautiful mother” – that’s what we should all be thinking about ourselves.

    After having two children in less than two years, the second one weighing 10lb14, my body is totally knackered. But actually, I am happier with it now than I’ve ever been – when I was a skinny, gorgeous teenager I thought I was fat and disgusting. Now I want to be someone who has fun (with life and with fashion) and is happy.

  • Emily O

    Hmm, yes three children in four years here and it does take its toll on your body. It’s frustrating when celebrities bang on about these things because they have resources for personal fitness trainers and staff to help them get back into shape. Oh and they don’t eat properly and aren’t averse to the surgeon’s knife either. It’s very rare to see real women’s bodies celebrated, in fact we see freakish forms celebrated instead. Underweight women with fake boobs, botox, lips plumped and hair extensions. What is wrong with our society?

  • Little L just turned two and I only now feel that I want to consider another pregnancy. Hats off to all the women who have children in quick succession – I have no idea HOW they do it. I think my body would have just collapsed.

  • Great post. It’s one of those things that just maddens/saddens me – the unfair expectations on women after (and frankly, before) childbirth. You’re right, men get off so freely on so many counts. But we should gang together to protect our own interests more, unfortunately women are often more self-critical than most (guess it stems from our own insecurities?)

    We need to be there to remind each other that pregnancy and mothering are no walk in the park but the sheer fact that we have produced actual human beings can mean only one thing: our bodies are AWESOME.

    • Muddling Along

      Exactly – we do this great thing growing an entire human and we’re then supposed to have no change to our bodies because of it and to spring back into being a 16 year old version of us – its nuts

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