Fat shaming Kim Kardashian

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The pregnant body is a wonderful thing. It can turn a microscopic embryo into a person complete with a heart, a brain and an immune system pretty much on autopilot.

But there’s one area of pregnancy where a woman’s body is not to be trusted. Ever. When it comes to appetite, cravings and weight gain ALERT, ALERT, SYSTEM FAILURE!

After all, what would a pregnant woman’s body, with a mere few million years of evolution under her belt, know about the optimal composition for a pregnant woman’s body?

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That goes double if the pregnant body in question happens to belong to a celebrity like Kim Kardashian. 

Fortunately, expert help is at hand. Australia’s leading journal of maternal wellbeing — I speak of course, of Woman’s Day — has put together a panel of experts, variously known as Kim’s ‘friends’ and anonymous sources, to discuss Kim’s ‘Out of Control’ thirty-kilo weight gain.

‘“Kim is desperate to stop gaining, but she can’t seem to get it under control,” says an insider. “She cries every day and she’s scared of how big she’ll get.”’

And she should be scared because to some attentive observers, Kim’s hideously out-proportioned pregnant body is indistinguishable from that of a killer whale.

Not to be outdone, Australia’s other leading obstetrics publication, NW magazine, is there to assist mother and baby through this ‘nightmare’.

Meanwhile, In Touch magazine has resorted to the latest in medical imaging technology — restaurant cam — to diagnose the source of the problem. In their professional opinion, Kim has gone, ‘From Portion Control to Pigging Out’.

It may be hard for some people to muster any sympathy for a Kardashian. She rose to fame via a sex tape and has stayed there by, among other things, comparing the smell of her sisters’ vaginas on her reality TV show.

But not only is it indefensible to treat anyone with this degree of viciousness, the issue extends well beyond the fat shaming of a Hollywood B-lister. It’s symptomatic of mixing our cultural hatred of body fat — particularly women’s body fat — with the belief that pregnant women’s bodies are public property.

At a time when women are already confronted with the changes and lack of control over their bodies, the belief that limiting weight gain during pregnancy is a virtuous and worthy goal just adds to their anxiety.

The brutality in linking pregnant women’s identity and self-worth to their weight gain is not only soul-destroying, it can also lead to alarming and dangerous behaviours. 

A recent study published in the European Eating Disorders Review, for example, found that one quarter of pregnant women were, ‘highly concerned about their weight and shape,’ and 7.5 per cent of women met the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder.

Similarly the Journal of American Dietetic Association published research in 2003 finding that 21 per cent of pregnant women endorsed weight-restrictive behaviours such as deliberately trying not to gain weight, and not eating before visiting their doctors.

Like Kim Kardashian, I gained 30kgs during my pregnancy. That was more than 50 per cent of my original body weight. At the time I agonised over how far I was deviating from the socially acceptable levels of weight gain but, like so much about pregnancy, it was beyond my conscious control.

Fortunately I had an obstetrician who didn’t have much time for this month’s experts and their paranoia about weight gain in pregnancy. She trusted that my body would gain as much weight as it needed to. So long as I was being healthy, she saw no need to worry.

I know what you’re thinking: what would she know? She just has a medical degree, years of experience with pregnant women and delivering actual babies. To the best of my knowledge, the woman has never published an exclusive celebrity scoop in her life. Not one.

But it turns out she was right. My daughter is now a healthy and vibrant three year old and while my body was certainly changed by my pregnancy it is not too different from how it was beforehand.

The lesson here is that just like everything else about baby-making, women’s bodies know what they’re doing. Our job is to eat well and stay as active as we can and leave the rest of it up the real experts: our bodies.   

 

Kasey Edwards is the best-selling author of 30-Something and The Clock is Ticking: What Happens When You Can No Longer Ignore The Baby Question.  www.kaseyedwards.com

16 comments

  • According to a very quick google search the average weight gain during pregnancy seems to be about 40 pounds or 18kg. So the amount she has gained seems to be rather excessive, and while presumably she has an army of personal trainers and dieticians etc to help her get back down to whatever weight she feels will maximise her public profile, the vast majority of women won't. Surely we should be encouraging women (and men) to do what's healthy rather than pretending that gaining excess weight is actually a good thing, especially given the obesity epidemic that we have in the western world. I don't think fat shaming is a particularly good or efficient way of doing so but it is better than pretending that excessive weight gain is just fine and dandy.

    Commenter
    Hurrow
    Date and time
    April 02, 2013, 9:22AM
    • Congratulations to Hurrow who wins today's prize for comprehensively missing the point of the article.

      Commenter
      John
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 10:09AM
    • It's one thing to have excessive weight gain when you're not pregnant, but another thing entirely when you are. I'd be seriously worried about the health of the baby if pregnant women started going on diets. Where do you draw the line? I agree that healthy eating should be a priority at all times, but weight gain is one thing women should not have to worry about when they're carrying a baby.

      Commenter
      AmyBG
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 10:10AM
    • A very quick scan of the article above got me these quotes:

      "So long as I was being healthy, she saw no need to worry."
      "Our job is to eat well and stay as active as we can and leave the rest of it up the real experts: our bodies."

      She isn't advocating being unhealthy, quite the opposite. It is incredibly unhealthy to try and limit NATURAL weight gain during pregnancy, and it's potentially damaging to tell people "you should only gain an average of 18kg", because like the article said this can lead to unhealthy behaviour in itself. Google doesn't always have all the answers, and every woman is different - the amount you gain is based on weight before pregnancy, a persons reaction to pregnancy hormones etc etc. The only person who should be telling a preganant woman what kind of wieght gain is right FOR THEM is their doctor.

      Commenter
      TF
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 10:25AM
    • Hurrow, do you understand the meaning of the word 'average'? Also, what sources did you look at, and did they list the standard deviation in pregnancy weight gains? Do you know what standard deviation is? I'm guessing the answer to the first, third, and fourth questions is no, and to the second is non-academic sources.

      Commenter
      pb
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 1:41PM
  • An anonymous source told me that if enough women stopped reading these pathetic magazines, they'd stop printing them!

    Commenter
    lbb
    Location
    Berwick
    Date and time
    April 02, 2013, 9:36AM
    • Congratulate you for your extremely insightful comment

      Commenter
      John Holmes
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 10:57AM
    • Another source told me that magazine editors are not stupid.
      They know what women want to read.
      And that many women actually spend their hard-earned-money to buy these magazines.

      Commenter
      Robyn
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 11:00AM
  • I'm sure with her team she'll be back to her post-baby body in no time.

    Commenter
    April
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    April 02, 2013, 10:15AM
    • but if KK didn't make these headlines now, how can she cash in on her miraculous post baby body afterwards?

      Commenter
      weswee
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 11:35AM

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