About a month ago, I was contacted by Simone Olivero, Assignment Editor at Yahoo! Canada for my expert opinion about a disturbing trend: websites like #thighgap, and #collarbonechallenge that make being thin a competitive sport. I was horrified to know that websites that encourage eating disordered behaviour like this would even be allowed to exist.
You can read the article here: What’s really happening when body shaming on… – Fashion and lifestyle News – Yahoo Style Canada
The timing of Simone’s request was interesting as I had recently been thinking about how the media routinely sets women up to feel inadequate at all stages of life.
When I was a teenager, me and my friends spent hours pouring over fashion magazines, debating which of the super models was the most beautiful and trying our best to emulate their looks. Needless to say, as a slightly overweight girl of colour, seeing beauty consistently depicted as thin, typically blond and white did not do much for my self-esteem.
I have to imagine that the internet’s ability to expose us to a gazillion images of perfection can only serve to cause many of us to feel like we are just not measuring up. Of course, celebrities are not exactly “normal” people. It’s their job to look perfect. But we nevertheless can’t seem to help but compare ourselves when one of them is featured in a magazine looking as thin as ever just after giving birth…to twins!
In addition to the constant barrage of celebrity “news”, social media provides a venue where many of us “normal folks” can post pictures of our best moments and pretend that it is an actual day in the life. So much for reality! Social media has essentially taken the pursuit of “keeping up with the Joneses” to a new level.
My friend and colleague Nikki Bergen (http://www.nikkibergen.com/) recently introduced me to a term that eloquently sums up much of the content on social media: “Pinterest Perfect”. I loved the term so much that we decided to use it in the title of a workshop we are presenting this September on postpartum recovery. It’s called, Modern Motherhood: NOT Pinterest Perfect.
One of the topics we plan to discuss is the influence of social media on the development of unrealistic standards for postnatal recovery and the negative impact this has on body image and self-esteem.
And then I came across this site: http://divine-mothering.com/
What a welcome breath of fresh air to see these postpartum women with their babies looking absolutely radiant and comfortable in their own skin. Bravo Liliana Toboas for conceiving of this project and for your celebration of moms and their inspiring stories. We finally have a bit of balance to the conversation.
Check out my EVENTS page at http://www.drstacythomas.com/events/ for more information about my workshop with Nikki Bergen, founder of the Bump Method, on September 20, 2015. We look forward to hearing more stories from real women about the realities of motherhood as well as sharing concrete strategies for getting back to feeling good again, both emotionally and physically.
It is sure to be a spirited discussion.
Hope to see you there.