Today is Mother’s Day and restaurants and florist shops are on overdrive, trying to keep up with the consumer-driven holiday we have created to celebrate motherhood. In advertising, I have seen everything from sofas and loveseats to big screen televisions (supposedly on sale) all meant to honour women who have raised or are currently raising children. Looking at the ads, it would be easy to believe that this is a universal concern because so much has been dedicated to this supposed holiday; however, it is far from the truth.
Jillian Michaels recently caused a stir when she announced that she did not want to have children for fear of losing her figure. Michaels has struggled with weight problems in the past and the fear of becoming fat again was too much for her to overcome. There are plenty of women who do not want to become mothers for various reason, but Jillian’s comments represent a particular frame of thought that has come to be associated with motherhood.
Photographers aggressively seek pictures of women with a baby bump and even when a woman is not pregnant, the slightest weight gain is enough to set people speculating as to whether or not she is with child. Once again, this might seem like an obvious love of motherhood, however, nothing could be further from the truth. These investigations are simply just more discipline of female bodies. If it is revealed that a woman is not pregnant, the fat shaming begins immediately and if she is pregnant, the policing of her personal activities ensues. Suddenly, every action and every single morsel of food that she consumes becomes the business of the public – all wrapped in so-called concern for the unborn child. Continue reading