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Don’t tell me how she lost the baby weight

Postpartum weight loss stories are insufferably thin.
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Devon Scoble, February 6, 2014 4:10:59 PM

Jessica Simpson’s thin again, thank goodness. Because what kind of slow news day would it be without another postpartum weight loss story?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care I’m happy for her. I hate celebrity postpartum weight loss stories, but I’m not going to slam you with an equally reductionist story about “real” women like me, either. If you want to see me jiggle my muffin top or brush the Dorito crumbs off my chest, you’ll have to come over and experience it in real time, thank you very much.

The real problem is that this is Jessica Simpson’s big story, the PR moment she’s been working towards ever since Eric Johnson’s little swimmer wiggled into her waiting egg. Sure, it’s all part of her brand, and her real talent lies in the high production value she brings to the polished, but ultimately commonplace events of a regular life. This is a story because she and her PR team have made it one. But these truths don’t detract from the damage tales like this inflict on the narrative of motherhood.

Because as far as most celebrity media is concerned, motherhood is just a hyper-idealized version of celebrity womanhood: from bump-watch to birth to bump-loss, it’s all about the body.

Enough has been said the effects of commodifying women’s bodies this way – it is a real problem, and you don’t need me to tell you that. But there’s more to it. From a narrative standpoint, telling life stories this way is not only damaging, it’s boring.

Even for the vainest, most self-obsessed woman on the planet, motherhood is much, much more than a tale of pounds gained and lost. No less than Kim Kardashian laid low in the aftermath of her delivery to daughter North. Maybe she was tired and maybe she wanted a break. But I like to think – and this is pure conjecture here – that for once in her adult life, Kim Kardashian wanted to revel in the wonder of an experience that is too precious and too indefinite to be sold, at least for a little while.

Weight gain and weight loss are the low-hanging fruit of the celebrity motherhood story, or any mother’s story, really. In an ideal world, our entertainers are muses for the collective imagination: they inspire our curiosity and ignite our passions. And I get that it’s not always going to be that way, especially when there’s money to be made, but is it too much to ask our entertainers to, you know, entertain? So please, Jessica Simpson, enough about your baby fat and just sing a song already. And pass the Doritos.

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Devon Scoble

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