Guess who just made not losing the baby weight cool?
British pop star and mother of two Lily Allen has come under fire for the new music video accompanying her song “Hard Out Here.” Critics argue that although Allen sought to create something lampooning the hyper-sexualized treatment of women in the music industry, her use of gyrating, barely clothed black female dancers smacked of racism and sexism that undermined her intent. (Read Allen’s response here.)
While that debate rages, I’d like to highlight another noteworthy part of the video that, I think, is indisputably a good thing: in the span of less than a minute, Allen swiftly and amusingly dispenses with the notion that postpartum women absolutely must reclaim their pre-baby figures.
At the very beginning of the video, before the singing starts, we see Allen lying on an operating table surrounded by folks in scrubs and a man presumably portraying her manager. She’s undergoing liposuction, with a surgeon grimly informing her that “we’ll be here for a while” and her manager instructing the doc to take “some more” off her stomach and her legs.
“How can somebody let themselves get like this?” the manager wonders aloud.
While the surgeon mutters something about, “a lack of self discipline,” a flustered Allen responds: “I had two babies.”
The surgeon then informs the manager that “a lot of women do this after they’ve had two” — whether “this” refers to getting lipo or gaining weight is unclear — and that they “basically, let go.”
“Terrifying,” says the manager. Seconds later, Allen launches into her anti-sexist anthem.
Others have spoken out against unreasonable expectations that women bounce back to their original sizes shortly after giving birth. Allen herself lashed back at media reports that she was struggling to lose weight after the January birth of her second child: She reportedly tweeted that she wanted no part in a ” hatred of women saga,” was “f*****g hot” and a “size happy.”
But there’s a difference between just railing against demoralizing and unrealistic beauty standards (in this case, for new moms) and getting your message across in a funny, satirical bit within a wildly popular music video. The entertainment value of the latter makes it more appealing … and potentially, more effective.
I hope that moms lamenting their post-baby bodies — whether it’s because they’re heavier or just shaped differently — will be as heartened by this video as I was. And if the song gets you twerking your ample, postpartum derrière, all the better.
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Photo by Benoît Derrier via Wikimedia Commons.