Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is the latest victim of postnatal body fascism

Barbara Ellen In The Observer:

Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, once called “the most beautiful woman in the world” by Julia Roberts, has caused outrage in India by not losing her baby weight quickly enough. A website,, produced a feature depicting Bachchan with elephant sound-effects in the background. Many are raging that she is a disgrace to Indian womanhood and should set an example, “like Victoria Beckham,” by getting back into shape.

When did Bachchan give birth? Seven months ago. What is her reason for not focusing all her energies on “snapping straight back into those pre-pregnancy jeans!”, as the parlance goes? Bachchan says she just wants to “enjoy motherhood”. What kind of lame excuse is that? Except it isn’t. Rather, it’s a nod to a saner time, before post-pregnancy was turned into another torture zone for the modern female.

People are forgetting that this used to be the norm. The aftermath of pregnancy was a time when women were freed from “looking sexy” in the conventional way. A sainted space when women could tell lookist society to take a hike – they were busy, OK? They needed to concentrate on their baby.

Then arrived the concept of the Yummy Mummy. Suddenly, body fascism crept into the postnatal experience, hunkering down among the nipple pads and Pampers, like some evil, squawking cuckoo. Women had to worry about not only shedding weight, but also shedding it quickly enough. What had always been viewed as a becalmed, no-pressure marathon transformed into a self-loathing sprint. From now on, the ideal would be to look as though, physically, the pregnancy never happened – that one’s children were magically discovered beneath the Slimming World gooseberry bush or delivered by the Dukan stork. More:

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