The New York Times ran an essay by Janice Min, the former editor of US Weekly called, “Can A Mom Get A Break?” It’s in Sunday’s paper but online now.
"So from this land of all-things-ersatz, from breasts to reality TV, has arisen another irresistible illusion: the Momshell (mother-as-bombshell). And she makes no allowances for my maternal paunch."
She goes on about Momshells and non-Momshells, People naming Beyoncé its most beautiful human being after she had a baby (I’m not sure why that’s so bad since they have the stupid list in the first place and she is, arguably, not terrible looking), the changing depiction of mothers on television, the bullying of Jessica Simpson and Bryce Dallas Howard for not losing baby weight fast enough, the sexualization of TIME’s “Mom Enough” cover woman, and Hilary Duff’s Twitter feed. Since it’s not my story, you’ll have to click over to the New York Times to read it. But here’s the essay’s teachable moment:
“But in the same way that women can have it all, the notion that instantly stick-thin figures after birth are normal is untrue. Sometimes, in my sleep-deprived nights, I ponder our ideal of this near-emaciated, sexy and well-dressed Frankenmom we’ve created and wonder how to undo her. Even just a little bit. Not only for the pressure to let up on me, and you, but also perhaps so my little baby girl can one day love her own children, too, without hating her body at the same time,” writes Min, the editor in chief of US Weekly from 2003 to 2009.
Come on! How disingenuous! Min takes a tiny, tiny bit of blame in the essay, “I am partly to blame for my own physical netherworld. As the editor of Us Weekly, covering the Suris and Shilohs of Hollywood for six years, I delivered what the young female audience wanted: cute moms and babies” but just barely. She does that because otherwise it would be the biggest, fattest pregnant elephant in the room. And, see how she’s kinda blaming her editorial decisions on her readers?
Min remains one of the most powerful people in media. She has been since the beginning of the millennium. She left US Weekly and is the current editorial director of Hollywood Reporter. Take a little more ownership if you ran US Weekly in various editorial roles for almost a decade and now have the nerve to pen an opinion piece for the New York Times on the ”celebrity climate” where “from bump to paunch, pudgy moms can’t get a break” (as the New York Times describes the piece in its summary).
Her essay reads like a thousand others that I’ve read on a thousand mommy blogs about this subject. But the difference is that Min was a key architect of celebrity-tabloid culture. If she really wants to write about this for the paper of record (on a Sunday!), I’m sorry but I’d like to ask her to dig a little deeper. If she really wants things to change, I’d like to ask Min how it should be done and what her role is going to be?
She made her bed. Sorry she doesn’t like lying in it.