Tag Archives: pregnancy

What’s with the body-shaming, Paula?

My name is Kim Powell, so if a headline mentions Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il, Kim Kardashian, Colin Powell, Julie Powell, Baden Powell or Powell Peralta, I’m gonna notice it.

So of course I noticed this, on the SMH homepage:

Article by Paula Joye about Kim Kardashian, on smh.com.au

Oh noes! Someone doesn’t like what someone famous is wearing!

It’s a column by Paule Joye, What’s with the outfits Kim?:

I’ve been sitting on my hands trying not to write this one. Predominantly because I believe we/me/society should leave pregnancy and pregnant women alone. Give them a break.

When you’re pregnant everyone has an opinion. About your body, the sex of your baby and what type of birth you might have. Suddenly you become public property and for nine months you must endure a peanut gallery whose members range from the neighbours mother-in-law to a stranger at the supermarket.

I’m pretty sure you can guess where this is going.

I know all to well what it’s like to be told ‘you must be having a girl because it’s stolen your beauty’. So Kim, it’s important you know that I write this from a place of love.

I know, I know, it’s easy to confuse “love” with “mean-spirited body-shaming”. I do it all the time.

What’s up with the maternity outfits?

Someone has to let that poor girl know that fashion and pregnancy go together like socks and sandals. Or nails down a blackboard. That the second trimester is not the time to be posing in a pink, neon jumpsuit underneath the statue of Jesus in Brazil. Or the moment to trial a dominatrix-inspired organza cape. Or a feather mini-skirt. Now’s the time for elasticised waist bands and no under wire. Now’s the time to take a fashion sabbatical.

Why isn’t it the time to wear those things? Seems to me that the time you want to wear a pink neon jumpsuit is the time you should wear it. So when she says “I believe we/me/society should leave pregnancy and pregnant women alone”, what she really means is “people should leave me alone when I’m pregnant, but I’m allowed to be mean and silly towards other pregnant women”.


Now Kim wears the kind of clothes we’re used to seeing on fashion editors, supermodels and Cate Blanchet. Not small, curvy women. Particularly not small, curvy, pregnant women.

You’re missing a t in Blanchett there, love. But typos aside – because we all do them and she did quite a few of them and god I hope there aren’t any in this post – women can wear whatever the hell they want to wear. And that includes “small, curvy, pregnant” women.

I’d like to draw Paula Joye’s attention to this video she created in August 2010, praising Instyle editor Kerrie McCallum for “breezing through” her pregnancy looking “glamorous” and “like a supermodel”:

In this video, Paula Joye says she still wore heels when pregnant – yet apparently Kim Kardashian needs to ditch the heels and wear ballet flats. In this video she also says you should wear things that “accentuate your bump”, and that you should wear skinny jeans so you don’t look frumpy and that, even when pregnant, your outfits should always be flattering. (The video also shows paparazzi shots of pregnant married celebrities to Beyonce’s ‘All the Single Ladies’. I’m really not sure what that’s about.)

I’d also like to draw Paula Joye’s attention to this piece she wrote in June 2012:


Meet the most stylish pregnant woman on the planet – Bronwyn McCahon.

At 37 weeks pregnant with baby number two she looks as she always does – cool, chic and polished… what I love so much about her maternity style is the ability she has to still dress like herself no matter what the bump is doing.

Ah, so it’s praiseworthy when her friends dress this way, but when a celebrity that she’ll most likely never meet does it, then it requires a nasty, body-shaming article on the website of a major broadsheet. Silly me for not seeing that difference.

And I’d like to draw Paula Joye’s attention to this piece she wrote in March 2012:

I went through pregnancy wearing non maternity clothes – except for a single pair of jeans – opting instead for lots of stretch jersey in jumbo sizes because I couldn’t relate to the pregnant bodies in the maternity catalogues.

Seems to me that Kim Kardashian is doing the same thing – wearing non-maternity clothes. Besides, between her reality show and the paparazzi mobbing her every time she’s out in public (to get photos that editors like Paula Joye buy), is it that surprising that Kardashian is making sure they don’t get a bad photo of her?

I guess Kim all I really wanted to say was that even though you’re a Kardashian and Mrs West you’re also pregnant and you should be allowed to dress for it.

But you’re not allowed to dress the way you want, obviously.

If pregnancy taught me anything it was that people like me need to learn to keep their opinions to themselves (clearly, I’m still evolving), that fashion will always be there and that elastic is a truly happy place.

That doesn’t even make sense. You either learned that lesson or you didn’t. And you didn’t. But keep trying, Paula, and maybe one day you’ll be mature enough that you don’t feel you have to body-shame a pregnant woman.

Men and childbirth

Over the weekend some of the Sunday papers carried an opinion piece by London obstetrician Michel Odent, arguing that male partners shouldn’t be present when a woman is giving birth. Now, not being a doctor, I can’t comment on the medical stuff he goes into – such as his stress hormones affecting her – but there is one bit that was just too much: “if a man is present at birth, will be the effect on the sexual attraction he feels towards his wife?”

I’m sorry? Ignoring his idea that if a woman has just had a baby she must be married, how about sparing a thought for the woman who, having just been through pregnancy and childbirth, might not want to have sex again for a very very long time.

He also says that men suffer a sort of post-natal depression in the 24 hours after the bub is born, and that this is another reason why men shouldn’t be present in the delivery room. Um, we don’t deal with post-natal depression in women by telling other women not to have babies in case they get it. As a doctor, he should know this.

The problem with this stuff is that although it’s good that pregnancy and labour are being talked about in the mainstream media, most of it isn’t very helpful. And almost all of it is about telling women what to do.