Much anger has been vented and women’s blood is boiling on a global scale; the royal post-baby backlash has begun. As you may well have heard this week, the ringleader of the baby weight bullying is the UK edition of OK! Magazine, who rather impressively managed to ignore the birth of Kate Middleton’s actual baby and instead raved about her ‘post-baby weight-loss regime’ on the front cover. The cover story also included such vital communiqués such as ‘her stomach will shrink straight back’ and ‘your exclusive Duchess diet & shape up plan’. They’ve got their royal priorities in order then.
We all knew it would happen, given the Daily Mail fuelled fault finding in relation to women’s bodies everywhere, but it’s the timing that makes this anti-feminist focus on the Duchess of Cambridge’s post-baby figure all the more despicable. The crude OK! cover was on the shelves before Kate had even left the Lindo wing. MAKE IT STOP.
Twitter and social media land didn’t take kindly to OK!’s angle, with the greatest outrage expressed by TV and radio presenter Katy Hill, who called for a boycott of the magazine ( @KatyHillTV #DontBuyOK) and posted a picture of her figure two-months post-baby with the caption ‘YOU MADE A HUMAN!’. She encouraged mums everywhere to share images of their ‘bumps’ and her followers have rocketed.
More wry critics of the baby weight mafia included BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey, who tweeted ‘Will walk to the shops. Need to work on #babybump. It’s been ten and a half years now’. Equally realist and incredulous was Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts, who revealed that she had ‘just been asked to comment on “Kate’s brave decision not to hide her post-baby bump” Where would she hide it? Under a bush?’. Quite.
Inevitably it wasn’t just OK! that chose to focus on Kate’s appearance however, as to be expected the ever-charming Jan Moir got in on the action. Although apparently praising ‘radiant’ Kate, the cattiness was nonetheless palpable, with Moir extolling such ponderings as ‘Kate had a natural birth- did that mean no eyeliner?’ and declaring that ‘her frosted petal charm remained undented by the rigours of birth’
The ‘Give Kate a break’ chants really started to resound from GTG HQ when the judgemental press releases began to flood in on Wednesday…themes and content ranged from picking out Kate’s supposed grey hairs to assuring us that ‘the focus will soon shift to how quickly-and safely- Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, loses those post-pregnancy baby pounds’.
OK! magazine has since apologised for it’s ‘misunderstood’ Royal Baby Special, but the voraciousness with which the press targets every apparent physical flaw, whilst simultaneously ignoring Kate’s graciousness, tolerance and right to privacy is astounding. It seems that even if a woman gives birth to a future King, she’ still not safe from the hounding. And let’s face it, if Kate’s hair is going grey, there’s no hope for any of us.
We say, give it a rest, and most importantly, leave Kate and every other non-airbrushed woman be, especially if they have just had a baby. Women are not dolls or inflatables- they don’t look perfect, and they certainly don’t miraculously decrease in volume after a significant life event such as creating and delivering a child. Less bitching, more biology please.