Recently Jennifer Garner was asked if she was expecting because media types had noticed that she was sporting a “baby bump.” Her reply was pretty awesome – she said that while she is not pregnant, she does indeed have a baby bump – from her 3 existing kids – and it apparently is here to stay.
And THAT is how nice girls say “Stop commenting on my goddamn stomach and leave me alone.” Way to Go, Jen!
I was at a mothers’ coffee once where someone told me I was the perfect candidate for a tummy tuck. True Story. And I barely knew her. A group of women were complaining about getting their pre-kid bodies back and one of them commented that I wouldn’t know what they were talking about because I am a runner and in shape. I replied that I knew exactly what they were talking about, because all the running in the world wouldn’t get me back into my old jeans, especially given the – ahem – changes in my midsection after having 3 kids in 4 years. (Note: I didn’t say this in a way that suggested I wanted to do anything about it – I was merely pointing out that your body changes over time – Que Sera Sera.) At which point an almost-stranger turned to me and (after slo-o-o-o-wly looking me up and down) said, “Oh, you would be a perfect candidate for a tummy tuck! You should definitely do it!”
I almost spit my coffee out. What is the appropriate response to that?
Are you on commission for a local plastic surgeon?
While, let me tell you – I am NOT the perfect candidate for a tummy tuck. First, I don’t want one. Second, even though it is probably done in a pretty office, it’s surgery. I generally try to avoid surgery. Last, but certainly not least, I have an almost-11 year old daughter. She sees me as an athlete who honors and takes care of her body, and uses it to do all sorts of wonderful things. There is no way I would be ok with sending her the message that the body I have – which is strong enough to scale Spartan Race walls, climb mountains in snowshoes and run marathons – isn’t good enough. Is so “not good enough,” in fact, that it is in need of surgical intervention.
While I feel for Jen Garner having everyone think she is pregnant when she probably just has been eating a lot of Chinese food, she at least is in a field where scrutiny over her body is to be expected. And is probably part of why she handled the comments with the grace that she did.
I, however, am a freaking lawyer. I’m thin by nature and fit from running. But am I expected to be shredded as well? In my field, you don’t have to look perfect to get work. In fact, your clients like to see you looking like you have been putting in the hours at your desk, not the gym. So why should anyone expect me to look like looking good is my job? I have a job, and that ain’t it. My body is the amazing vehicle through which I live my life, not a mannequin that exists only to be looked at.
I saw a piece in Glamour the other day on body image, and apparently women feel worse about their bodies than ever (Rest assured, the irony of a magazine called “Glamour” running a piece on body image is not lost on me. But stay with me here.).
Apparently, the biggest factor in the decline in positive body image over the years isn’t the effect of seeing celebrities with perfect bikini bodies. Nope, it’s the fact that lots of our neighbors are now jacked, shredded, tucked, liposuctioned, tightened – whatever combo of diet, workouts and surgeries gets people looking like models.
And it’s true. Nowadays, celebrities aren’t the only ones making it their job to look perfect. Especially in Type A suburbs where Colby and I live, lots of regular folk do it, too.
Well, I am not jumping on this bandwagon. When you get to that point, it’s NOT about being fit and NOT about being healthy, no matter what people claim. Hey, if you are happy working out like it’s your job, and want a little nip and tuck for that “perfect” body, that’s fine. But I refuse to buy in and anyone who suggests that I should can go screw themselves.
These “imperfections” on my body are the direct result of many happy decisions I have made, whether it was to have children, share great meals with friends, or hang out on the couch with loved ones instead of hitting the gym. And I’m not trading any of them for a body that looks perfect in a bathing suit.
So if you end up at one of our neighborhood coffees, feel free to come stand by me. I’ll happily point out my permanent baby bump, I’ll eat (not split!) a muffin with you and I will never, ever, suggest that you erase the visible evidence of some of your most positive life decisions by going under the knife.