I used to love Chiara Ferragni. Well, I’ve never known Chiara Ferragni intimately, so to say I loved her is probably hyperbole – but I was a fan. I read her blog semi-regularly. I blame her for my obsession with Acne’s blue silk platform court shoes that I still frequently hunt for on Depop, eBay and Vestiaire Collective* (to no avail).
I stopped following Chiara quite so fervently at some stage over the past few years. The Blonde Salad changed from a personal style blog to a website that didn’t interest me quite so much; her own style became even less attainable than it had been; she moved to LA and is dating a pop star and, in a way, the girl-next-door vibe I liked about the early Blonde Salad simply wasn’t there anymore. (This is not to say that any of those decisions were wrong – her rocketing wealth is a testament to how right they were. Merely to say that I miss the days of un-self-conscious personal style blogs, featuring women who actually wear the clothes they’re shooting.)
It wasn’t until she posted this photograph to her Instagram this week – accompanied by the caption “10 days postpartum 💪🏼” that I realised she’s an asshole.
There has been so much written about the pressure on women to “bounce back” post-baby that there is little demand for a thinkpiece from me, someone who neither has a baby nor a “pre-baby” body, on why we women need to give ourselves a break (both pre- and post-baby). I could witter on about the idea of the body being something separate to us, our selves; your body is not an entity entirely detached from your being. By that same token, your body is not your identity. You are more than your body but you are do not exist independently of it, just as it does not exist independently of you. Your body is not the enemy.
It would be wiser, in fact, to think of women such as Chiara Ferragni as the enemy. Women who – as Caroline Hirons highlighted on her Instagram Story – have nannies and money (so much money) and assistants and access to trainers and chefs and, lest we forget, are naturally slim and always have been. Women who, instead of using their privilege and good fortune to help others less privileged and less fortunate than them, use it to show off about just how great their lives are.
There is nothing inherently “better” about women whose bodies shed all signs of pregnancy immediately, much as there is nothing “better” about women who are naturally thin – but we live in a society that says otherwise, and when we are feeling tired and emotional and self-conscious, it’s hard to hold on to your body positive ideals and not to judge yourself against someone else’s yardstick.
I’m not suggesting that Chiara Ferragni should only go out and about in hessian and sackcloth for the next six months, with mascara bleeding down her face and dried breastmilk on her top (although honestly, I’d love to see that), but that maybe – just maybe – she could have chosen a different caption for her photograph. Something about the weather, or the day, or what she was up to, or a joke about escaping from her baby (I don’t know a single new mum who wouldn’t appreciate those jokes).
The thing is, there’s always going to be somebody who’s self-conscious about the very thing you’re subtly showing off about (and I’m thinking of myself here, and the good skin I got from my Mum, posting “hashtag nomakeup” pics and thinking I’m only deadly) – but, of all women, those who have recently given birth surely deserve a little more consideration than normal.
TL;DR. I’m perfect and – despite never having given birth – know that if I ended up doing so, I would hide my incredibly slim post-baby-body from the world so as not to make anybody else feel bad about how fab I looked. xoxo