Why Ivanka Trump's Post Baby Photo Matters for Women
In the photo posted Tuesday to her Tumblr page, a smiling Trump held her swaddled newborn son while lying in bed. “We welcome with love, Joseph Frederick Kushner,” read the caption accompanying the photo. Although Trump looked beautiful, she had matted hair, seemingly no makeup and was clad in a hospital gown and maternity wristband. “Ivanka looked like any other exhausted new mother posing for a photo with her baby, and in our weight obsessed culture, that’s a good thing for women to see,” body image expert Leslie Goldman, MPH, told Yahoo Shine.
It’s no secret that in Hollywood, the desire to bounce back to one’s pre-baby body is intense and celebrity birth announcements are often accompanied by airbrushed photo spreads or Instagram selfies. Some celebs cope with the pressure by ducking the paparazzi (Kim Kardashian went M.I.A. for nearly three months after delivering daughter North West in June and new mom Fergie, who gave birth to son Axl in August, has yet to make an official appearance). Others understand there’s no escaping the scrutiny. In July, one day after Kate Middleton gave birth to son George, she posed for throngs of camped out photographers on the steps of St. Mary’s Hospital with her hair blown out, wearing a polka dot blue silk dress and stylish nude heels.
And pressure to look perfect post-birth has a real-life trickle-down effect. In September, a Los Angeles woman sparked a debate on whether expecting mothers should hit the gym, after a photo of her weightlifting while 8 months pregnant made the Internet rounds. And recently, a California mother-of-three triggered national backlash after posting a photo of herself on Facebook, revealing her washboard abs, while surrounded by her three young children. The photo caption smugly read: “What’s Your Excuse?” It’s no wonder that new moms often feel defeated. According to a survey conducted by the parenting website, Baby Center, 31 percent of mothers are angry about the pressure to look like celebrity moms, while 24 percent simply feel depressed.
But are photos like Trump’s a step in the right direction? She's not the first celebrity mom to show an honest portrayal of new motherhood. In 2010, after OK! Magazine put Kourtney Kardashian on its cover following the birth of her son Mason, the new mother tweeted that the magazine had retouched the photo in order to slim her down. “And I gained 40 pounds while pregs, not 26...But thanks!" she added. And in January, following the birth of her daughter Olive, Drew Barrymore referred to the post baby weight-loss pressure as the “hamster wheel from hell.”
Images such as Trump's send a positive message to women but it can be confusing if celebrities are not consistent in defying conventional beauty standards, says body image expert Robyn Silverman, author of Good Girls Don't Get Fat: How Weight Obsession is Messing Up Our Girls. "However, it's important to see and these images because doing so allows women to see that new motherhood is not about being thin and perfect," she told Yahoo Shine. "It's about having a baby."