Celebrities Who Don't Lose Baby Weight Fast Enough Face Backlash. What a Weird World

Jessica Simpson takes her baby on a stroll in June.For the average new mom, it takes at least 6 months to lose the weight gained during pregnancy. For the average celebrity mom, it's more like 6 weeks.

Blame personal trainers, diet endorsement deals, vanity, and of course an impending tabloid photo-shoot deadline. If you can lose 30 pounds just three weeks after a baby (Bethenny Frankel did it!) you can sell magazines.

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Just ask Janice Min, the former editor of Us Weekly, the magazine fueled by celebrity post-baby body covers. Now a mom of a four month old, Min got a dose of schadenfreude recently when she found herself scrutinized for still carrying extra weight just months after her delivery.

"I pushed out a 6-pound-10-ounce baby girl nearly four months ago. And I'm 42 to boot. Can't I get a free pass?" asked Min in Sunday's New York Times. She knows better than anyone else, the answer, at least in Hollywood, is 'no.'

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Being caught without muscle tone, even weeks after giving birth, is now just as newsworthy as losing a shocking amount of weight.

Bethenny Frankel in 2010, two months after having a baby

Recently, the Daily Mail published behind-the-dunes paparazzi shots of actress Neve Campbell on the beach with her newborn. The story was simply that she had a baby some weeks ago; no name or sex of the child was given. Then came the long-lens photos and descriptions of her giving what's described as an "eye-full of thigh" and "proudly baring her stomach on the sand." It's unlikely she was making any kind of statement by going to the beach with her newborn, and by the way, what stomach? Campbell's lack of airbrushing revealed a realistic if already slender post-baby body. It just wasn't the kind we're used to seeing on the cover of tabloids along with a giddy exclamation point.

After a barrage of brutal comments at the bottom of the story, one Daily Mail reader wrote: "To all those posting horrible, mean comments, for God's sake this woman just had a baby!!"

Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Simpson and Hilary Duff have also faced scrutiny from tabloids and commenters alike, all because they didn't lose their post-baby weight as fast as, say, Heidi Klum. In response to so much Twitter-hate, Duff went on the defensive, "I just had my baby 3 weeks ago!"

Hilary Duff, three months after giving birth Min calls this backlash against celebrities with real post-baby bodies a "trickle-down mean-girls effect."
But maybe it's more of a trickle-down blindness. Have we seen so many unrealistic post-baby bodies we've forgotten what real women look like after giving birth?

When TMZ posted photos of Bryce Dallas Howard with her newborn in May, along with many a bad weight pun, Jezebel's Tracy Egan Morissey was outraged, until she saw a silver lining.

"I think it's great that these pictures were posted, because they present a more realistic portrayal of post-natal recovery than the 'I got my bikini body back in six weeks' narrative we've been subjected to as of late. Maybe some other women struggling with their own post-baby bodies will see these photos and feel a little less alone and a little more normal."

Min doesn't excuse her participation in the tabloid fakery, but she also isn't afraid to use it to her advantage. Her new book "How to Look Hot in a Minivan: A Real Woman's Guide to Losing Weight, Looking Great, and Dressing Chic in the Age of the Celebrity Mom," comes out in September.

"I am partly to blame for my own physical netherworld," she admits in her Times essay. "As the editor of Us Weekly, covering the Suris and Shilohs of Hollywood for six years, I delivered what the young female audience wanted: cute moms and babies."

Still, a six-week-old and a mom with a six-pack aren't the same kind of cute. Can't we stop worrying about women's bodies for a second and appreciate what they can produce (a baby, hello!) rather than what they can eliminate?


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