Pregnancy is already an emotionally and physically demanding experience without the added burden of constant scrutiny. We live in a society that constantly upholds the incredibly heteronormative idea that reproduction is every woman’s one true calling, their greatest achievement.
While women are expected to fulfil their biological function, they are also expected to not look like they are doing so – or have done so at all. Nothing amplifies this unwritten rule more so than magazines raving about celebrities mini bumps and how they’re barely showing at all – and then there are entire pages about how important it is for a woman to regain her pre-pregnancy body as quickly as possible.
Zooey Deschanel, however, has had enough of this unrealistic notion and is speaking out. When discussing her daughter Elsie Otter with Redbook, Zooey claimed “To expect someone to look like her pre-baby self immediately is odd. Because you just grew a human and then birthed that human—there’s a lot that needs to go back to where it was. All your organs move around, for chrissakes!”
She is absolutely right, and I applaud her refreshing honesty. This isn’t the first time Zooey has openly spoken about the pressures women face during and after pregnancy. She spoke to Cosmopolitan last year, prior to giving birth to her daughter, about post-pregnancy body shaming. “Haven’t we all seen those pictures of a sexy new mom in a bikini after one month? I will not be that person. I’ve always gone my own course and never been someone who has the need to be super skinny. I like a healthy look. I don’t buy into that skinny-is-better mentality”.
It is important that Zooey is using her platform to speak out about this unrealistic notion. The images, articles, and headlines dedicated to analysing and criticising celebrities post-pregnancy bodies, affect not only the women in the spotlight but women everywhere. We need to learn to celebrate our bodies and combat this unrealistic ideal that castigates real bodies and glorifies unrealistic bodies.
I’m on the May cover of @redbookmag! ❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/bnJp5ZHuSj
— zooey deschanel (@ZooeyDeschanel) April 13, 2016