feminism

Chiara Ferragni’s 10-day-postpartum body, woman-shaming and the subtle art of showing off

March 31, 2018
Chiara Ferragni postpartum

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

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5 Comments

  • Reply Sharon McClelland April 1, 2018 at 12:03 am

    I’m 7.5 months postpartum and finding it so hard to get motivated to exercise regular. I went from being very active before baby to not very much and constantly feel the pressure When I see ppl like this. I live in London my partner and myself both from Ireland and have no support so enjoying the freedom for exercise I had before is just not possible. I am constantly exhausted. The only plus is I try to eat healthy most of the time. I agree it’s not nice to show off and she is a dick

  • Reply justine September 4, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Talk about woman shaming. There is a lot of nastiness coming from you – you may have read too much into that post but it’s highlighting your own insecurities. Body shaming is horrible and I think that’s what you just did. “It is wise to think of Chiara as the enemy” – wow! Mate, would be wise to write your frustrations in a private journal then analysing your thoughts before protesting more hate in this world. Instead of encouraging online bullying on this person – how about stop reading her blogs.

    • Reply Rosemary September 4, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      Hi Justine, I’m sorry you didn’t like my post – I don’t consider it body shaming to point out that posting about your post-baby body in a way that shames other women is neither kind nor necessary, but perhaps we just disagree on that point! Also criticism does not equal hate, no matter how often people protest that it does.

  • Reply Jimena September 4, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Bravo Justine! you are so right. I read this post and I was like… wtf? sorry Rosemary but that is not the way to attract readers. I have a 17 old month baby and even though im still struggling to go back to my pre baby weight I would never say other women are the enemy because they bounced back better than me. every body and every circumstance is different. I love Chiara because she doesn’t apologize for what or who she is. so you enjoy your bitterness and chao!

  • Reply Mary September 4, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    I understand it can be shocking to see those pictures but as a mom of a 2.5 YO girl, I can tell that if I had looked like this 10 days after giving birth I would have loved the world to see it lol, as long as her and her baby are healthy I don t see the big deal…

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