Moms in their 40s worry about body image too


julia-louis-dreyfus-pictureBody image is not just an issue for young girls and women in their 20s. Women in their 40s also get bombarded with images of the perfect body, a flawless face and gorgeous hair. And if you have had children, how your body looks is another cross to bear.

The other day I read this blog titled “Unapologetically Female.” A post dated March 17 discussed body image. The topic was Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her cover photo for the April 1 issue of Shape magazine.

According to this blog, Dreyfus appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show and apparently Ellen commented on how great Dreyfus looked for having kids. Dreyfus’ children are 17 and 12, and she is in her late 40s.

I must admit I did not see the show, but I still can gather from the blog that there was no conversation concerning world hunger or how to end the financial crisis. The conversation more than likely centered on body image and not intelligence.

Now, I think too much is made over body image for women at any age, and yes at times I fallen into the media’s trap of selling the perfect body, the perfect face and so forth. However, in all fairness why it is that when a woman gives birth she is considered to be out of shape? It always sounds as if after childbirth a woman’s body is wrecked, and she is no longer attractive.

Okay, maybe things shift and stretch marks appear, but whether a woman works out or diets to gain some semblance of the body she once had, why does society have to comment? Not every woman after childbirth lets herself go. It is not some curse we must endure because we choose motherhood and the idea of being healthy, using a hairdryer and applying make-up goes out the window in the labor and delivery room.

Let us also not forget Dreyfus probably has a personal trainer and starved herself for the photo shoot. And let’s also not forget the wonder of digitally altered photography that erases the flaws.

Society needs to get over the body image issue. Carrying a baby for nine months and giving birth does not mean the end.

I am quite proud of that accomplishment in my life. Not every woman who does have children ends up sagging and looking like a hag. And so what if she does.

A graduate student in the Spring 2009 Feminist Theory class wrote this blog post. To read more student posts, click here.