Janice Min, the entertainment editor credited with helping Us Weekly "feed a hunger for celebrity," is outraged by the obsessive scrutiny of post-pregnancy female bodies. In her New York Times piece "Can a Mom Get a Break?," Min, who gave birth four months ago, expresses disdain for the way her body has been criticized.
"You see, in today's celebrity narrative, just two kinds of desirable maternal female physiques exist: the adorable gestating one (with bellies called 'bumps') and its follow-up, the body that boomerangs back from birth possibly even better than before," writes Min. "Me? I'm currently stranded on an island like the one on 'Lost,' only this one is inhabited exclusively by still-pudgy moms struggling to find their way back."
The piece takes aim at the unfair standards everyday women are held to after giving birth - standards that are shaped in large part by the images of celebrity 'boomerang' bodies staring back at us from the newsstands or our computer screens. (Except, of course, when the images are those included in stories mocking celebrities who have the nerve to keep their baby weight on for more than a few weeks after giving birth.)
Although the story is presumably intended to help new moms feel more comfortable in their post-baby bodies, there's one -- very big -- problem with it: Min herself is responsible for helping to create the very unrealistic expectations that she considers unfair - a conflict of interest that Jezebel's Tracie Egan Morrissey points out in her article "Former Us Weekly Editor Has No Right to Be Pissed About the Post-Baby Body Obsession."
"So while Min's point about laying off of new moms and their bodies is valid, it's also so [expletive] hypocritical. And I don't want to hear it," writes Morrissey. "It's like an arsonist setting your house on fire, and then complaining about the smoke. She created this [expletive] environment. She doesn't get to whine about how it's now affecting her. We bought the magazines and ate it up, yes, but she decided what we were getting served. Min is not the one to tackle this subject, and if she must, anything less than a complete mea culpa is, frankly, unacceptable."
All the more infuriating is the fact that Min is releasing a book entitled "How to Look Hot in a Minivan: How to Look Hot in a Minivan: A Real Woman's Guide to Losing Weight, Looking Great, and Dressing Chic in the Age of the Celebrity Mom." While the editor mentions in the Times story that she has written a book based on celebrity lifestyle, she provides minimal details and excludes the fact that it deals with weight loss.
Min served as US Weekly's editor-in-chief from 2003 to 2009, which she briefly addresses in her article.
"I am partly to blame...," says Min. "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."
According to the Los Angeles Times, in the years that Min ran US Weekly, circulation rose from 800,000 in 2000 to 1.9 million in 2009. Post-pregnancy and celeb baby stories were frequently featured on the mag's cover. Us Weekly's website currently has a section devoted entirely to celeb moms that features diet and workout tips from the stars.
According to reports, Min earned a contract worth $2 million plus for her work at Us Weekly. So not only did Min help facilitate the ideal post-baby body, she also profited from doing so.
In 2010 Daily Beast article, "The Post-Pregnancy Weight-Loss Obsession," Katie Gentile compares the Mayo Clinic's assessment on healthy post-pregnancy weight loss the information contained in magazines like Us Weekly.
"The Mayo Clinic advises normal-weight, healthy women to exercise moderately and eat about 300 more calories per day while pregnant, gaining between 25 and 35 pounds over the course of the nine months," said Gentile. "And Mayo advises women to lose only 1 postpartum pound per week in order to maintain solid nutrition. La Leche League advises that women not diet for the first 2 months after delivery to help their bodies recover and establish good milk flow."
Contrast this information with Us Weekly celebrating Ashlee Simpson-Wentz for sticking to her 1,500-calorie-a-day post-pregnancy diet, People discussing Liv Tyler's postpartum fasting and colonics, or Ok magazine's "Baby Weight Secrets," which advise women to stick to fat- and carb-free diets and spend hours exercising daily."
Those celebs that don't fit into and idealistic slim down cover story can expect a glut of condemnation.
This year, thigh-profile mothers Jessica Simpson, Aishwarya Rai, and Bryce Dallas Howard became the target of vicious internet slander.
Simpson's pregnancy weight gain has been a controversial topic in Hollywood. Since the birth of her daughter Maxwell in April, Simpson has been scrutinized for her fuller figure. Several tabloids have alleged that Simpson is unable to handle the pressure of returning to her pre-baby form-a condition of her $4 million agreement with Weight Watchers. Simpson, 31, denied the rumors via Twitter.
Photos, some of which seem to be deliberately unflattering, are routinely being published online-usually contrasted by photos of the singer at her lowest weight.
Former "Girls Next Store" star Kendra Wilkinson, who also struggled to lose weight after giving birth to her son Hank in 2009, found the criticism against Simpson unsettling.
"That just breaks my heart," Wilkinson told omg! Yahoo. "I feel for her. I was in the same boat. People just need to mind their own business. That's a woman who just gave birth. Her first priority right now is her child. Her first priority is not losing the weight. You should be proud of her for that."
Rai has faced similar comments about her post-baby form. The 38-year-old Bollywood stunner gave birth to a daughter in November of 2011. Since then, videos such as FAT Aishwarya Rai Attends Mukesh Ambani Party and SHOCKING! FAT Aishwarya Rai have hit the web.
"This is reality, this is who I am," Rai said in an interview with the Indian press. "I am a mother, and this can happen and it happened with me, and that's fine! And that's life!"
Howard is the latest celeb mom to face post-baby attacks. In May, TMZ posted photos of the actress walking with her four-month-old daughter prompting a flood of insults.
"Damn! I think they left a baby in there," wrote one user.
"1 word=LAXATIVES!!! STAT!!!" urged another.
What makes these responses all the more vicious is that weight gain contributed to the postpartum depression Howard faced after the birth of her son Theo in 2007. She described her battle in a piece written for Goop.
"Before Theo was born, I had been in good humor about my 80-pound weight gain, but I was now mortified by it," said Howard. "I felt I was failing at breast-feeding. My house was a mess. I believed I was a terrible dog owner. I was certain I was an awful actress; I dreaded a film I was scheduled to shoot only a few weeks after the birth because I could barely focus enough to read the script. And worst of all, I definitely felt I was a rotten mother--not a bad one, a rotten one. Because the truth was, every time I looked at my son, I wanted to disappear."
What we want to disappear are self-serving, hypocritical columns in the New York Times masquerading as valuable social commentary.