This picture of Caroline Berg Eriksen has apparently sparked outrage in the world because the photo was taken three days after Eriksen gave birth to a baby girl.
There’s been a lot of talk about ‘fat shaming’ on the internet, most recently with Maria ‘What’s Your Excuse’ Kang. Maria was, in my opinion, very antagonistic with her picture because of the way she presented it. Instead of opening up dialogue she put people on the defensive.
But with Caroline, who posted a selfie looking nothing short of amazing, if that makes you feel bad about yourself, then I say it’s stemming from somewhere within you, not because of how she looks.
Apparently the uproar is that it an image like this is causing women to have unrealistic expectations about how they should look after birth and it’s pitting women against women. And to that I say—bull crap. There is no ‘one’ body expectation after giving birth because every body is different. Just like every body is different in day-to-day life.
We applaud women who are larger for baring it all in lingerie because those are 'real' bodies, yet when someone who is athletic (because she's not just thin, she's ripped) does the exact same thing, we’re allowed to tear her apart and say she’s setting an unrealistic expectation for other women.
Well guess what? She has a real body too. THAT is what makes me angry. Listen, I trained for a triathlon last year and still don’t have a body like Caroline OR Maria, but I’m okay with that because I’m okay with me.
The media, Caroline, or any picture of a woman who looks fit after giving birth isn’t at fault for making you or any other woman feel less than. The only hate and competition that is real is the one that goes on in our heads.
This is true for more than just body expectations. How many times in your life have you partaken in competitive parenting? Where one mom says she breastfed for two years and you take that as a put down that you didn’t? Or another mom let her baby cry it out and deep down inside you feel superior because you would never do that.
I did because internally I felt insecure as a parent.
The thing is, this is about so much more than just an image, this is actually a complicated issue that has many factors including our own experiences, insecurities, playing the blame game, and the anonymity of the internet that will allow us to say anything.
There is someone in my life who I love and adore. When she had her first baby (before I knew her) she gained 80 pounds and it took her a long time to take off the weight. When she had her second I was on the beach with her two months later, both of us in bikinis. She looked fantastic, as in WAY better than me and I hadn’t had any babies yet. Not once did I think, “Well that’s unrealistic.”
But the anonymity of the internet will allow us to say mean shit to people we don’t know. I bet if any one of us were friends with Caroline we would be giving her a high five and a ‘you go girl’ because of how great she looks. And if you wouldn't, then you're not a good friend and that's a whole other issue.
We can blame the media, we can blame Caroline, we can blame anyone and everyone, but the one thing I have learned is that the moment I read, see, or hear something that makes me feel defensive, that’s the exact moment I need to look within myself and ask why. More often than not the issue stems from within me and not what the other person is saying or doing.
Because ultimately, the only person who can ever make us feel less-than is yourself.