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If you’re a woman who has given birth, held life within your body, had the satisfaction of becoming a mother, you’ll know that what you see in the mirror is not what you saw before the pregnancies. Your body changes. It has battle scars. It has marks. It’s stretchy and loose and saggy. And it’s a badge to be proud of.
Victoria Beckham has said she’s proud of her post pregnancy marks. A slew of celebrities have talked about their stretch marks and showed them quite unselfconsciously. Kate Winslet, Julia Roberts, Katie Holmes, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears are just a few of them. Back home, Aishwarya Rai took her time to lose her baby weight and hasn’t talked about stretch marks as far as I know. But then, the media talked a lot about her and in singularly unflattering terms. The western media was kinder to her. It’s rare to read a post that is as insightful as Sujata Reddy’s on Zareen Khan.
What inspired me to write this post was the discovery of a fabulous news item about a photographer, Jade Beall who took photos of her own semi nude body after giving birth. She posted them on facebook without touch ups or photoshop. The photo was hugely popular and was shared all over the internet and given many likes. Delighted with this trend and people’s obvious interest for real bodies as opposed to plastic perfection she started taking photos of women’s post partum bodies. You can view the post here. I would love to hear your reactions to these photos. Please do comment and discuss in the comments section.
I for one was stunned by how moved I felt to see those real stomachs, those proud Mamas. They are absolutely marvelous.
Another thing that surprised me was how much I changed in my perception of my own body. I pride myself on being sensible and intelligent. Also on being unaffected by the way popular media portrays women’s bodies in a perfection dictated by men and a competitive, cruel world. But I know I am also a little vain. I like to look good. What it means to ‘look good ‘is now decided by those who photo shop and by the underage, underfed teen models whom they promote and mould into stick like thinness and who have taken over the ideal of beauty. The fact is – there are many ideals of beauty but women’s body image has taken a nosedive thanks to advertising, Hollywood, Bollywood and, and, and…
After looking at these images by Jade Beall I felt so much more accepting of my own body and how it has changed to accomodate my babies.
I’d like to add that I didn’t let myself go and stop doing yoga or eating sensibly because I do that to maintain good health and an ideal weight. But I did cast a kinder eye over my self. I felt proud to be part of the tribe of mothers world over.
What about you?
Pic credit: Jade Beall Photography
A freelance journalist and teacher, Kalpana is a feminist, an animal rights activist, passionate about
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