The entry about the Fake Advertising Mom provoked a reaction I didn’t see coming. I said that pregnancy and nursing changes a woman’s body in plainly visible ways and that the fake moms in ads usually show no such signs, in addition to being too young to be realistic mothers of the children they’re photographed with. This, to my mind, was a feminist observation.
I picked up feminism from my first wife who had been a women’s-lib radical on the extreme left during the 70s. In that mode of thinking, feminists accept and celebrate the female body for what it is. Attempting to look like 20 when you’re 35 is seen as a symptom of patriarchal repression. Such a feminist doesn’t shave and wears her stretch marks with pride.
Instead I got this barrage of angry comments and blog responses from people who think that it is misogynistic to suggest that a woman cannot look like 20 at 35 and after becoming a mom. This reminds me of the Onion’s headline, “Women Now Empowered By Everything A Woman Does“. My critics apparently buy into the skinny waif ideal, they assume that I do too, and so they automatically conclude that I’m hostile to women. Not true.
To me, it’s sad to see a woman touting her ability to get skinny again after childbirth as a virtue. Sweetheart, you don’t need to look like the models in the ads. And, frankly, once that first baby pops out, you will never look quite like a girl again. My point is that you really shouldn’t want to. (The men don’t mind. That’s why children get siblings.)
And to those who think that men have no right to voice an opinion on these matters, I’d just like to take this opportunity to thumb my nose.
For a characteristically wise and graceful (though slightly condescending) treatment of the issue, see this entry by the incomparable Dr. Isis.