“This idea is misogynistic.”
Slate staff writer Rebecca Onion last week penned a takedown of “fit moms” on Instagram, who she felt set an unrealistic standard.
During her pregnancy, Onion complained, she was a “creaky, overheated beast” who was physically unable to eat healthy or exercize. After the baby was born, she said, she was too busy to get back in shape.
But rather than gaining new appreciation for the social media hotties who somehow managed to do better, Onion’s experience made her suspect a nefarious plot was afoot.
The “elephants” in the room, she determined, are “patriarchy and misogyny.”
How are men to blame for an online community of women by women? Putting her doctorate in American studies to work, Onion explained: They just are.
“The presumption of the ‘No excuses’ trope is that mothers are leaning on motherhood to indulge their natural tendency to be lazy and gluttonous,” she said. “This idea is misogynistic.”
As examples of the sexist superstructure that coerces pregnant women to stay thin, Onion cited a writer of a defunct blog and a banned internet commenter, both of whom at some point apparently expressed antipathy toward the sorts of “land whales” who their bloated bodies on giving birth.
For these purveyors of culture, she suggested, seeing “fit pregnancy” photos online is the ultimate validation of their sexist ideology ― “proof that pregnancy doesn’t have to ‘wreck’ a woman’s body, if the woman cares enough to work for it.”
But female thinness isn’t enough for men, Onion asserted. What they really want is for women to disappear altogether.
“This is why every Instagram fit-pregnant person swears that it’s not hard to do,” she concluded. “The ideal mother carries a baby in her body, breastfeeds, pumps breast milk, goes back to work or doesn’t, all without imposing on anyone else with her troubles. Somehow, she does everything, while barely existing at all.”
To sum up, then, Onion’s theory is: Men, and particularly obscure internet trolls, manipulate the culture to compel pregnant women to post hot photos of themselves on Instagram ― all in an effort to make them invisible.
If that doesn’t make sense to you, you’re probably part of the problem.