The Internet can be a nasty place for women whose bodies don’t abide by “normal” beauty standards and as one endurance athlete recently proved that idea applies to women at both ends of the size spectrum.
By the time Brittany Aäe was 39 weeks pregnant, the fitness coach was fed up of people criticising her toned body.
Taking to Instagram, Brittany posted a photo of her heavily pregnant body beside that of plus-sized model Tess Holliday – who recently gave birth to a baby boy – to highlight that despite their very different body types and weights both women were being subject to abuse for their pregnancy figures.
She wrote: “In this image these two women are at about the same stage in their pregnancies – 39 weeks.”
in this image these two women are at about the same stage in their pregnancies – 39 weeks. that is the gorgeous @tessholliday looking boss on the left and me with the defined abs on the right. she is a voluptuous model and I am a sinewy mountain athlete. both of us are shamed for our size – she for her roundness and me for my smallness. both of us are having or had healthy pregnancies as validated by our healthcare providers. both of us are making empowered choices about our personal health. why does our society shame women whose bodies do not adhere to some narrow notion of false normalcy? let's instead keep our thoughts and words about other people's size to ourselves. pregnancy is tough enough without also being body shamed. #effyourbeautystandards #momshame
“That is the gorgeous @tessholliday looking boss on the left and me with the defined abs on the right. She is a voluptuous model and I am a sinewy mountain athlete.”
“Both of us are shamed for our size – she for her roundness and me for my smallness. Both of us are having or had healthy pregnancies as validated by our healthcare providers. Both of us are making empowered choices about our personal health.”
After pointing out both the similarities and differences between herself and Tess, Brittany – who purposely documented her pregnancy fitness regime for those who were interested in staying in shape through pregnancy – asked why were they being so heavily criticised.
throughout pregnancy I was so scared of how my body would look and feel after pregnancy. as a mind-body athlete, my body is my sacred vehicle for gnostic movement, my only home, my treasure. I couldn't bear the thought of ringing in my big 3-0 (two weeks from now!) in a body that didn't feel like home. so, after overthinking it too much this is me two weeks before pregnancy, twenty weeks pregnant, thirty nine weeks pregnant (and actually in labor), and one week postpartum. when I was at the gym each day taking these photos I did the same workout: ten pitches in the 5.10-5.11 range followed by a run. happy to report that, in that last image, I felt STRONGER than in the first image. I am sharing not to brag, to make others feel bad about their own unique journeys, or to put any 'should's out there. I share to dispel fear other pregnant athletes might hold about their own post-pregnancy bodies. please allow these images to broaden your idea of what a 'normal' pregnant and postpartum body looks like. once again I feel at home in my body – except this body just got done blood doping for ten months while wearing a progressive weight vest. I'm coming for you, Bust tha Move! #pregnantathlete
She said: “Why does our society shame women whose bodies do not adhere to some narrow notion of false normalcy?”
“Let's instead keep our thoughts and words about other people's size to ourselves. Pregnancy is tough enough without also being body shamed.”
Brittany – who runs the Magnetic North blog – told Elle she was sick of “the general idea that women’s bodies are somehow public property”.
We think that is something everyone is sick of. Point well made.