I’ve always liked you.
From the moment you stepped onto Canada’s turf and laughed with your whole face and held the hearts of our people, I’ve liked you.
But never more than this past week when you emerged from the hospital with a brand-new son in your arms. You radiated love and life and I thought you’d never looked more beautiful.
I thought nothing of your mommy-tummy because goodness, girl, you’d just had a baby and anyone who’s given birth knows that tummy doesn’t disappear overnight, nor should it. Your body’s been stretched nine-months long to hold an eight-pound highness, and it’s been pushed and prodded and bruised over hours of labor and there you stood shining in a blue dress, patting your son and cherishing him with new-mother eyes.
And the world exploded with tweets and posts about your postpartum body and I cried for you. I cried for our ignorance and for the pressure you are facing. And I fear for you. The years ahead and the toll of being in the public eye. I fear you might stop wearing blue dresses that celebrate your womanhood. I fear you might begin to grip your crown too tight. I fear you might become a disordered eater as Princess Diana was, for all of the pressure of a society that condemns a new mother for her mummy-tummy.
“The media’s neuroticism over Kate’s post-pregnant looks is brainwashing women into thinking that they will constantly be judged and criticized unless they meet the new standard – unattainable perfection,” human behavior expert Patrick Wanis PhD, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “The obsession with the perfect female body is spiraling out of control.”
A culture that has lost the scope and art of beauty. The curve of beauty. The shape of beauty found in the rounded tummy, found in the soft cushion of an arm, found in the maternal hug. We’ve forgotten the beauty that can be found in a nurturing figure, in a real-life person, in the struggle and surrender of a body to nature.
Most of us can admit to loving things about ourselves, but do we love our selves? The parts that make us, us?“A woman’s happiness is in throwing everything away to live for love,” says Ai Yazawa in Paradise Kiss, Volume 5. But this living for love does not mean throwing away our dreams and desires.No, it means fully entering oneself, while ridding of any pre-conceived notions about beauty and value and worth. It means embracing our crooked noses, snorting laughter, the stretch marks, saggy boobs, tea-bag eyes and warty feet. It means accepting our humanness, but more than that. It means approaching ourselves like author Anne Lamott does: with kindness and laughter.“Age has given me what I was looking for my entire life,” she writes. “It has given me me. It has provided time and experience and failures and triumphs and time-tested friends who have helped me step into the shape that was waiting for me. I fit into me now.”
We each have a shape. It may not be perfect, but it’s ours. A unique space in history to fill. (Chapter 1, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy)
So stand strong. You not only model what it is to be royalty; you model what it is to be a woman in the 21st century, and we need you to be real, Kate. We beg you to be real. Always.
On behalf of women everywhere, your friend and sister,