Motherhood is a hard task, especially when it’s combined with the modelling industry’s practices. It comes with a lot of criticism about the quality of work the woman’s, post-birth, body can produce with the main concerns revolving around weight gain and their overall physical appearance.
Social media is a prime example where this backlash is expressed, as the sexualisation of these women’s bodies ‘diminishes’ in the eyes of the public and is replaced by the ‘stay-at-home mom’ trope. There still exists the double standard that women should almost retire and focus on their maternal duties after giving birth. The satirical comments posted online against these models who resume their careers despite becoming mothers, disregard their need to maintain a professional life, and as a result their independence.
Society thinks that the only thing these women can do is stay at home for their kids; they should quit their jobs and hobbies for them. Is that acceptable? they should be able to do whatever they want – raise children and enjoy the life they wish to have. The culture around modelling is fixated on youth and beauty, erasing human liabilities, and portraying this idealised version of a woman. One who is loved by everybody, detached from everything and everyone – she is a fantasy. People think that modelling consists of beautiful young girls that never grow old. Time doesn’t exist for them but they aren’t machines. They want to work and have aspirations for their personal life.
It is so hard to be a mother and have to face body-shaming. In 2018 for example, Candice Swanepoel (Victoria Secret Angel) gave birth and everybody criticised her commenting: “you are overweight, do something you are so pretty, stop doing that to yourself”. She answered: “I’m not perfect, I was pregnant and here is my belly, here is my body and my choices, look at yourselves first and don’t care about the others”.
Taking a break from the industry is also important, like Miranda Kerr did after she got pregnant with her second child in 2017. However, more recently, Gigi Hadid was criticised after her one-year absence due to her pregnancy. On her return there was a lot of buzz online and negativity, regarding her walk at the fashion shows, even comparing her walk to her sister’s.
Every woman, including models, can be attractive at any age. For example Naomi Campbell is 51 years old and still walking the runways like the first time; sexy, confident and fearless. There is no reason to criticise someone and undermine their work based on societal expectations and standards of femininity and motherhood. In 2022, it’s really unnecessary to debase somebody’s work ethic and perspective on these backwards views on womanhood. Motherhood is one of the many beauties of being a woman, we must not misconstrue it’s value.
Written by Stelios Tsolakis
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