It’s hard to understand why our media denigrates moms. Anyone else tired of reading articles where women denigrate each other, name call, sling mud, and pit women against women?
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Today.com reported this morning that women who have children, according to their “online, unscientific” poll, hate their postpartum bodies.
If you click on the article—though I urge you not to waste your time—you’ll see that the headline (‘Love my kids, hate my body’) is totally misleading. It’s clickbait, and a way to pit women against each other, and even more deeply its another example of how the media denigrates moms.
But it’s not actually true that women hate their bodies. Let’s look at the facts:
Fact #1: Only 31% of the some 3,000 moms surveyed said they hated their bodies.
Fact #2: 69% of the women polled—the vast majority—feel good about their bodies after having babies.
Why would Today.com blare such a misogynistic, skewed, ridiculous headline, one that denigrates moms?
Why does the American media encourage women to hate themselves and ignore the evidence that the majority of women actually love themselves, thank you very much?
Promoting self-hate: good money when the media denigrates moms
Advertisers work hard to cultivate and promote women’s self-hate. The media is paid for by advertisers, so the media denigrates moms. The truth is the beauty product industry feeds off of self-hate. If you don’t hate your body, after all, what beauty products would you need to buy? Very few! Just a bottle of organic olive oil for your skin.
That’s the bottom line: Businesses have far fewer products to sell when moms feel good about their faces, their skin, and their bellies.
Plastic surgeons, among the most highly paid medical professionals, would see steep drops in their profits from tummy tucks, boob jobs, and facelifts if women stopped falling for the totally offensive advertisements (like the one above for a “mommy makeover”) and stopped thinking there was something wrong with our bodies for looking, well, human.
As the New York Times reported in this article about mommy makeovers:
Many women struggle with the impact of aging and pregnancy on their bodies. But the marketing of the ‘mommy makeover’ seeks to pathologize the postpartum body, characterizing pregnancy and childbirth as maladies with disfiguring aftereffects that can be repaired with the help of scalpels and cannulae.”
The denigration of women is not limited to Today.com’s special forte of denigrating postpartum moms.
As Jennifer Nelson, author of Airbrushed Nation: The Lure and Loathing of Women’s Magazines, reports, this female editor of a woman’s magazine defends airbrushing models to make their bodies conform more closely to our conventional notions of beauty and this woman’s magazine takes our national obsession with conventional beauty to an all time low by suggesting weight gain during pregnancy causes low self-esteem.
The Today.com article is an example not only of bad journalism but also of the systematic denigration of American women in the interest of selling products, selling newspapers, and even selling website clicks.
We can fight back by accepting ourselves, loving ourselves, and celebrating our bodies. Just the way they are.