The Guilty Feminist

There’s been a lot going on in the babywearing world about female body image over the last week or so. The controversial Artipoppe post about shaming mothers who choose to work out and the discipline that requires left the majority cold. I shan’t go into the many arguments; principally fat shaming, power imbalances, the way society privileges a thin body etc. It’s all been hammered out in the many Facebook threads and Instagram posts, and my response is here. This was an area for further reflection as I sat having a meeting with one of my MA students who is exploring parody and the girl guide books a la “How to Walk in High Heels“.

All this left me thinking about the internal conflicts we carry as mothers. The feminist body confidence movement is right on and, having lived with a history of war with my body, is something I wholly believe in. One cannot birth two girls and not reflect on the self that you -must- present to your children. One that is confident, mirthful, playful with the self; one that does not utter the words “God I look fat in this” whilst standing in front of the mirror, rushing to get ready to work, and fielding the multiple requests of small beings. That simply wouldn’t do.

A conflict it is though and one that had me in fits of laughter as I sat on the train listening to The Guilty Feminist podcast about nudity (a recommendation from my MA student). It is ok to be a feminist and still catch yourself thinking “sit straighter so your saggy bits, post birth number two, don’t show”. I might still feel a bit guilty thinking it, but at least I know other feminists do too.

Highly recommended listening.

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