New Mom Gets Body Shamed After Sharing Post-Baby Bikini Selfie

Sure, she’s a model, but that doesn’t make it all right to criticize Erin McNaught for her size.

(Photo: Instagram)

Jan 26, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

There’s no denying that in a culture that expects women to always be a vision of slim perfection, celebrities are expected to snap back into shape after giving birth. When they do, there are usually the requisite magazine covers trumpeting how quickly the celeb mom lost the baby weight—and when they don’t, gossip magazines and websites shame them for being heavier. But Australian model Erin McNaught’s sharing of an Instagram snap of herself in a bikini four weeks after giving birth has sparked a social media firestorm of body shaming.

The controversy started after 32-year-old McNaught shared the above photo on Friday, captioning it “4 weeks [post partum] and I’m starting to get my stomach back! Aside from lots of walking and eating healthily, I’ve been doing loads of pelvic floor and transverse abdominus exercises. Still no traditional ab work though which is driving me crazy!”

While many of the comments about the photo were from folks who told McNaught, who had Instagrammed herself exercising throughout her pregnancy, that she looked great, many other users of the social media platform began shaming her for her appearance.

“Unrealistic,” wrote commenter Shonyasingh. “Did she have a surrogate?” asked another, named Smashhappiness. Others suggested that McNaught’s priorities were mixed up. “We have to stay relevant in the media somehow I guess don’t we? Goodness knows you don’t do that just being a mother,” wrote commenter gclovin.

Those sentiments are troubling enough, but then there are the comments from women who looked at the model and began body shaming themselves.

“4 weeks post partum...that means her baby is 1 month. taylor is 3 YEARS!!!!! She has a six pack and i have a keg. excuse me while i attempt to drown myself in tears,” wrote Instagram user actressnik.

“Omg let me weep early this morning. Wtf is life?” wrote msjeauxjeaux.

The back-and-forth is a reminder of why Australian activist Taryn Brumfitt, who once hoped to have a tummy tuck because she felt like a fat, ugly blob after giving birth, launched her Body Image Movement in 2013 and is working on a documentary celebrating the capacity and diversity of the human body. One of Brumfitt’s key messages is that giving birth is an amazing physical feat, and women should be honoring their bodies for accomplishing it, not stressing out over what their abs look like.

As Instagram user thegelz89 put it so well, “We are all different, and no one should be judged or disrespected because of their body fat, skinny, in shape or whatever.”