As a new mom to twins (whom I carried to full term), I'm intimate with the pregnant-and-body-shamed phenomenon, in which people see a belly bump and think it's okay to point and gawk, as well as make unfiltered remarks about a mom-to-be's size -- whether to say she's freakishly big (as I always heard) or too small.
Celebrities are especially easy targets for body shaming, given their visibility. Here are five mamas who caught flak for their pregnancy weight.
Kim KardashianThe media had a field day with the reality TV star's pregnancy weight gain. One sample headline blared, "I Can't Stop Eating!" with a cover line beneath that said, "With four months to go, she already 'hates' her body." (Thanks, InTouch, for that gem.)
Internet trolls had fun at Kardashian's expense, too, circulating a meme that compared a photo of the star in a black-and-white dress to a killer whale. Looking good may be the best revenge now that she's on the other side of her pregnancy with daughter North West, but that's so far from the point: No expectant mama should be made to feel ashamed of her changing body. No one.
Hayden PanettiereIt's true that petite Hayden Panettiere gained more weight than is recommended during pregnancy: She told Hello! magazine that she packed nearly 40 pounds on her tiny frame weeks before she actually delivered. "I'm 5 feet, 2 inches, and I started out at 106 pounds and guess how much I weigh now? Around 145 pounds," she said.
But when some cameras captured snaps of the actress at eight months pregnant, wearing a two-piece swimsuit while on holiday in Hawaii, the Internet lit up with body-shaming headlines. TMZ went with a story calling out the "GIANT" star (yes, in all caps), characterizing her proportions as "out of whack." The Daily Mirror called her "huge" in its headline, and proclaimed her "ready to pop" -- a pregnancy phrase that reads like nails on a chalkboard to my eyes -- and so did the Daily Mail.
Jessica SimpsonJust as soon as the star traded her Daisy Dukes for maternity clothes, Simpson was skewered in the press for her pregnancy weight gain. And with two pregnancies and two babies in rapid succession (her kids are 14 months apart), she didn't return to her pre-pregnancy weight as quickly as the obsessive media would have liked. So the body-shaming headlines lasted for months -- years, actually -- relentlessly rehashing the topic.
Still, Simpson got the last laugh -- not for eventually losing the weight with the help of a multimillion-dollar Weight Watchers contract, but for speaking out time and time again in interviews about staying strong in the face of the pregnancy weight-shaming bullying -- and about the dangers of a media culture that embraces it.
Elsa PatakyAs a new mom to twins myself, this one is particularly close to my heart: Chris Hemsworth's knockout wife, Elsa Pataky, delivered the couple's twins last year. The Fast & Furious 6 star looked stunning in a custom Elie Saab gown on the Academy Awards red carpet when she was expecting. But E!'s Fashion Police team was among those who had a field day poking fun at the look. "I'm sorry, look at her tummy! She is huge. I know why she's huge, I saw her sonogram," Joan Rivers joked while the camera showed Ellen DeGeneres's famous Oscar selfie with a gaggle of stars. Stylist George Kotsiopoulos added, "That doesn't look like a baby bump -- looks like a beer belly!" Um, it's not a beer belly -- and it didn't look like one for even one second. Ever seen a pregnant woman before, George?
Kate Middleton And proving no pregnant woman's weight gain (or lack thereof) is above being subjected to media scrutiny is the criticism aimed at the Duchess of Cambridge. Her problems with hyperemesis gravidarum, or acute morning sickness, are well-known, with the condition forcing the palace to announce the news of her pregnancies even earlier than would have been ideal. Nevertheless, the media went to town on her body, calling her trim pregnant figure suspect. Case in point: The Daily Beast. During her first pregnancy, it ran the headline: "Pregorexia: Is Skinny Kate Too Thin For A Pregnant Woman?" Time magazine asked simply, "Is Kate Middleton Too Thin to Be Pregnant?" Apparently not, given that she delivered a healthy baby boy! So let's lay off pregnant celebs -- skinnier, heavier, or in between.
Copyright © 2014 Meredith Corporation.