Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jillian on the Hot Seat

Fitness guru Jillian Michaels is in hot water with moms over a recent comment she made in an article in Women's Health Magazine and now she's doing some serious damage control (and from the looks of it, a bit of backpedaling too).

In the article, she commented on her feelings about pregnancy: "I'm going to adopt. I can't handle doing that to my body. Also, when you rescue something, it's like rescuing a part of yourself."

Immediately, the media pounced on her, sensationalizing her comments by stating she wouldn't get pregnant because it would ruin her body. Of course, this sent moms everywhere in a collective hissy-fit. How could she choose a beautiful body over MOTHERHOOD!?? What kind of woman would put her looks and physique above pregnancy and childbirth - the pinacle of womanhood???!!! What a horrible, selfish creature!!!

On and on it went - I saw this story featured on every celebrity/entertainment and morning news show I flipped past. It was the hot topic of the week.

And there in the middle of the uproar is Jillian, steadfastly defending herself and expressing hurt feelings over being misinterpreted. Misinterpreted? Yes. Apparently, when she said, "I can't handle doing that to my body" she didn't mean ruining her body. She meant that she has some serious, deep-seated body issues that make it impossible for her to handle pregnancy. Okay, Jillian, we'll give you a pass because we know you're really getting slammed and you have a lucrative empire to protect, but truth be told, you're not fooling us.

The fact is, pregnancy DOES ruin women's bodies. Sure, the media likes to create sensational frenzies over the beautiful post-baby celebrity bods, but any real woman with two brain cells in her head knows that these women are freak-of-nature exceptions to the rule - privileged women with private chefs, nutritionists, personal trainers, nannies and unlimited access to plastic surgery. The vast majority of women do not look like Halle Berry or Heidi Klum after giving birth. They look like this.

Let's not forget that in Jillian's case, her rockin' physique is her livelihood, so it seems not only forgiveable, but completely reasonable and prudent that she forego wrecking her body with pregnancy and childbirth.

And here's an angle that nobody's taken yet: how about some praise for Jillian for stating that she will adopt - a far more generous and selfless act than bringing another human being into this already-overcrowded world? I find it very telling that no media outlet has touched that part of her quote. Her comment on adoption makes her sound nice, and good, and selfless - in other words, not the vain, selfish, narcissist they want to make her out to be. Nice, good and selfless are boring but vain, selfish narcissism sell lots of magazines.

Our culture is so warped when it comes to celebrity. And it is even more warped when it comes to motherhood, putting both on ridiculously high pedestals that are just begging to be toppled over. It's time we take celebrities AND mothers off their damned pedestals and stop holding celebs accountable as model mothers. Or in Jillian's case, as potential mother.


CFVixen said...

Awesome post! And I sure as HELL wouldn't want to do it to my body. If that makes me an awful person, that's okay with me!

charmed said...

Hell yeah, I agree. I already have weight problems and all the women in my family are overweight and having kids just makes it a lot worse. Even the ones who start out really thin get really big after 1 or two kids. I will not do that to myself, I don't care how vain anyone thinks it is. I'm selfish and vain and when I loose the weight I am going to keep it off and I won't be having any kids to ruin it all over again.

Hannah said...

I felt nauseous when I first heard about this a few months ago. All did Jillian did was speak her mind (and I'm sure it's what a ton of us are thinking)! Why is she not allowed to have an opinion?

I also liked the media running with it, as if Jillian was going to singlehandedly be responsible for a declining birth rate. Hello!That would be a GOOD thing!

lauracarroll said...

Wow I missed all that scuddle until now..wholeheartedly agree--why does she not get praise for wanting to adopt?? Somehow society thinks that parenthood is the most selfless act--but seems underneath this there is a clear preference for biological parenthood--which Yo in comparison to adopting is Selfish! But parents even thinking they could be selfish is taboo oo oo! I say Jillian, good for you. And media Shame on you. ~Laura

The Pint said...

Jebus, you'd think that the "sainted motherhood" crowd would be happy that she's going to raise children at all, regardless of whether or not they're biological, but nooo! She apparently HAS to get pregnant otherwise she's a selfish cow. *face palm* Adoption is such a selfless act, she should be getting support for it!

And good for her for knowing what she is able to physically endure and vocalizing that pregnancy is not the route to motherhood for her. How is it a bad thing that she's being honest about it? Not only does she depend upon that amazing body of hers to make a living - you know, the same living that's going to allow her to actually PROVIDE for her kids - everyone seems to be glossing over the point that Jillian used to have severe weight problems. The woman used to be obese - I can't imagine the tremendous amount of self-control, dedication and hard work she had to go through to get the body she has now, much less maintain it. Aside from the physical aspects, she probably has some psychological issues to take into consideration if she were to put her body through the rigors of pregnancy and the inevitable weight gain it entails. I don't think that admitting any of this makes her selfish - it makes her self-aware, which is more than I can say for her detractors.

Stephanie said...

Clap clap clap for Ms. Jillian! I can't even fathom why it is that childfree women can't just have whatever reason they want to not have kids. People have kids for dozens of reasons, including some super selfish ones like having a someone to take care of you in your old age, someone to pass on the name too, ect ect. Why is it that we just can't have whatever reason we want to not have them, selfish by whatever standards or not?!

And, yes, she should be getting support for her decision to adopt. Bologna!

A. Hidell said...

I just heard about this latest mombie uproar via a link from a different site and thought you guys might like enjoy this ultimate bitch-n-backpedal:

Childfreeeee said...

Yes, Alexis - the bitch and backpedal! For a parent can never slam parenthood without adding that little justifier at the end - that it's all worth it.

Fanboy Wife said...

I have no idea who Jillian is, but good for her! More people need to adopt!

Anonymous said...

It just sickens me that it's @#$%ing 2010 already, but a woman is still not allowed to own her own body; women's bodies are still bewilderingly considered some sort of collective public trust. Heaven forfend that a TV personality make a casual comment about what she is or is not willing to do with her own reproductive organs.

But Jillian didn't help, I think, with her response. Why could she not have responded to the vicious, ignorant backlash with a simple, "this is my body, and it's a private decision, your opinion is noted." Instead, she affirms the criticisms of the mouth-breathing conformists: yeah, you're right, my avoidance of the pweshus miwwakule of spawn incubation is really the result of sickness, of unhealthy self-image. If I were prime USDA-choice womanhood, perfectly normal and A-OK, I'd welcome the gift of turning my body into a hatchery.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Mom here. I didn't see a problem with her comments at all. There was a lot of furor on the mom boards, but I just see the big deal. She doesn't want to be pregnant and give birth. So what? It's a relief to hear from a woman these days, honestly. It seems I can't make it through a Google search without finding some whiny forum or blog about how someone won't feel like a whole woman until their uterus is filled with baby (or babies for the ones who are expecially entitled).

Purple E said...

I totally missed this. Wow. I think it's really responsible. I don't watch the TV show she's on, so I don't really "know" her...but it seems okay with me!

I had not seen the website of "after" pictures. Holy Jebus. No f***ing way for me... My friends (with kids) have already talked about the years it takes to feel like they are really back in their bodies. Umm, no thanks!?!