According to The Associated Press, Kate Middleton made the bold, applause-worthy choice to appear in public before her post-pregnancy belly went back to normal. But she didn't really have a choice — the media demanded she pose for a photo opp just 24 hours after giving birth to the new Prince George, so she did. Looking the way she looked. After having given birth in the previous 24 hours.
The AP got multiple quotes from women who thought the Duchess sent "the right message" by appearing in public with a bit of a remaining belly, as if she had a choice regarding doing so. Lyss Stern of New York City said, "I love that she came out and there was a mommy tummy. It was there! We all saw it!" Melissa Baker of Maryland concurred: "I liked that she didn't look perfect."
It's nice that these women aren't judging Middleton for looking the way she does, but the future queen probably wasn't trying to make a statement about women's bodies in the media at the Royal Baby's introduction to the world. There's no physical way she could have hidden her shape. Nor did billions of curious Royal Baby-watchers afford her any privacy whatsoever. So there she was, smiling for the cameras. The AP did suggest that Middleton could have used her new baby as some kind of human shield to hide her belly from view, but she didn't — another bold choice.
Middleton's post-birth publicity is somewhat unusual for a celebrity. Most new celeb moms wait a few months after giving birth before doing a photo shoot or walking the red carpet. In that amount of time, their bodies are able to biologically return somewhat back to normal (and of course, they have trainers and nutritionists to help them achieve what the average mom can't). Middleton didn't have the luxury of time, so she looked different than, say, Beyoncé did when she did a GQ photoshoot a year after giving birth.
Middleton wasn't quite letting it all hang out, however. She had her hairstylist come to the hospital to doll her up before the big reveal.
Still, the media wants to make Middleton the poster mom for presenting realistic images to the public, when, in fact, there is nothing natural about the way she is being scrutinized by hungry eyes. The Daily Beast ran a similar story applauding her for not hiding her impossible-to-hide bump. But at least The Beast got a reasonable quote from a British woman, Justine Roberts, on the topic:
Was it a brave decision? Where the heck do you hide it anyway — under a bush? It's completely natural to have a baby belly the day after giving birth and it's a great shame that the world is so obsessed with women’s body shape that Kate’s belly is deemed worth commenting on.
Her hair did look pretty great, though.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.