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Pregnancy Spanx: Revelation Or Tool Of Oppression?

Spanx’s ever increasing line of products now encompasses an affordable maternity line at Target. Mama Spanx® maternity pantyhose and Power Mama® panties have been around for several years and are designed to, among other things, “provide lower back support” and “eliminate VPL.”

My first reaction upon seeing the words “Spanx” and “maternity” together was, “Wow.” Even when we’re supposed to be expanding, we’re forced to suck it in. Jezebel writer Tracie Egan Morrissey shares the sentiment, “you’re not allowed to have a gut that big, even if there is a fetus in it.” But as msnbc.com points out in its coverage of the Maternity Spanx Wars, lots of pregnant women “took umbrage” to this idea.

I thought my reaction was sympathetic. Spanx is a fancy word for girdle, and a girdle is a staple of the pre-liberated woman’s wardrobe, a descendant of the binding Victorian corset.

But wait. Pregnant woman want their Spanx!

In fact, they find these flesh sucking garments empowering. ThatGirlJJ commented on the Jezebel piece, “[The] Third trimester is CRAZY and I don’t think anyone is wearing that to look slim … sometimes a little support is a good thing.” SissyLaRue wrote, “Empowerment means the choice to have a smooth butt even if there is a bun in the oven.”

I am not sure that a smooth butt is the key to a woman’s empowerment. But I could be swayed by the support argument.

I was a huge fan of suctioning fabrics during both of my pregnancies in a way I could never tolerate in a non-pregnant state. It was nice to have that belly pulled neatly into place. There’s a lot of stretch and tug going on in the third trimester, having what amounts to another layer of essentially better, tauter skin is a bonus. I was also an over-the-belly girl. The low riders would get too low, getting dangerously close to crossing the dreaded pubic line. No. Not for me. I wanted to pull my stretch pants right up to my ribs. And, hey, some of those Spanx products look pretty cozy in that regard.

So what do you think? Where do you stand in the Spanx Maternity Wars? Is the Spanx maternity line adding to, or alleviating pressure on women?

photo: Spanx.com

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