Dec 8, 2013

Caroline Berg Eriksen: Ladies, Get Over It

Eriksen & the abs that launched a 1000 whines.
9 days ago a Norwegian fitness blogger named Caroline Berg Eriksen Instagrammed a selfie of herself looking amazing just days after giving birth. And women went berserk. I had no intention of blogging about this. I have a long-overdue Sophia Loren post and decoration how-to's to worry about, but links to vids and features about this catastrophe keep popping up in my online field of vision and a few things about the negative reactions to Eriksen's pic have gotten on my nerves. So excuse me while I take a moment, climb up on my shoebox, and knock my bullet points out. Ahem, here goes:

1. Women (especially in the US) are crying foul. The pic can't be real! She's shaming women and making them feel pressured to look like that postpartum! First off, she's a fitness blogger who was in amazing shape before, worked out about 6 days a weeks for much of her pregnancy and gained a lean, mean 22lbs while preggers. Maybe her body's impressive comeback is unusual, but is it really an impossible achievement for someone with good genes who has put in an incredible amount of time and effort? No.

2. But her tight tummy's veracity really isn't the point here. The collective hissy fit folks threw is. She's shaming people? I'm sure that was her intention when she looked at herself, felt great about her body and snapped the pic. A lot of lip service is paid to not letting other people define or diminish how you feel about yourself, but interestingly that stance gets thrown out the window when women are presented with an opportunity to trash another woman they feel threatened by.

3. And how annoying is it to see all the beautiful female morning news and panel show commentators bitch about Eriksen? Perfectly coiffed and expertly made up, they sport beauty-queen faces distorted by sarcasm and fury. They roll their eyes in some trifling, superficial stab at sisterhood, never copping to the obvious truth that they are not exactly that relatable to the average woman either. Good grief! I'm not rolling my eyes with you, darlin', I'm rolling them at you.

4. I am in the camp that thinks Eriksen's pic is a positive image and an inspiring one, even if you are never going to be able to get abs that cut. I can't comment with much authority on global attitudes about body image or how it pertains to motherhood, but in the US a warped paradigm shift has occurred-- a worthy movement to promote a greater acceptance of bodies that deviate from the dictates of Madison Avenue has unleashed an unhealthy (and vocal) intolerance of people (especially women) who are thin, fit and conventionally attractive. That's not equality folks, that's just childishness. For example...

5. The same women who want to stuff hot fudge sundaes down Eriksen's gullet then burn her at the stake no doubt applauded the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty ads that depicted skivvy-clad women in a variety of shapes and sizes. Ladies approve when "regular gals" declare pride in who they are but, um, models or those who just look like ones? No, you have to hide because you have oppressed us for far too long and now are required to bear all the responsibility for how we feel about ourselves or how fit/unfit we are.

Why can't we applaud both women?
In a nutshell, this whole stupid kerfuffle is indicative of how women relish hating other women and how in doing so we pass the buck of personal responsibility, casting blind and bitter eyes upon our power to cultivate healthy self-esteem.

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