From Us Weekly to “It’s Hard Out Here For Us”

Monday, August 20, 2012

When I read former Us Weekly editor Janice Min’s “Can a Mom Get a Break” piece in the NY Times on the weekend, I rolled my eyes so hard my eyebrows were like, Um, is there a problem here? Are you stuck? 

The topic of the piece is valid and real: the ridiculous pressure too many women feel to drop the pounds they’ve put on with a pregnancy, and to do so basically within a few hours after giving birth. It ain’t easy.

Much of this mad push to get back in our skinnies comes from seeing glossy photos of celebrity new moms strutting on a beach in a skimpy two-piece mere months (or was it weeks?) after giving birth. However, we — the sensible lot that we are — all know that it’s unrealistic to expect our bodies to just — SLURP! — snap back overnight. There was a human person — or two — in that belly! It took 10 months (40 loooong weeks) to add the weight, how can it just magically disappear in two shakes of a L.A.M.B.’s tail?

And moreover, when did trying to live/look/be like a celebrity ever seem like a wise plan? These women need to look tight-and-right ALL day, every day. It’s part of the job. So if that means:

  • severe diets comprised of nothing + nothing + steamed fish and veggies with a Diet Coke for dinner
  • two-a-day, hardcore I-think-I’m-gonna-vomit workouts under the hard thumb of a professional fitness trainer
  • a little nip/tuck/pluck/pull/bowline knot to finish
  • some combination of all the above

… then they do it.  And they have the money to hire the help to get that shit done, with haste.

But for someone like Janice Min — a woman who had both hands deep in creating (and making buckets of money from!) this sickening celebrity atmosphere where we stalk stars like animals just to get a glimpse of them being “just like us!” — to write this story is disingenuous, at best. After being mortified by the “when’s your baby due?” question at a nail salon (she had just given birth four months earlier), Min has the nerve to jump on our boat talking about “man, it’s hard out there for us regular mamas, huh?” In fact, in the story, she actually points to part of the problem:

the stacks of periodicals at the nail salon, these genetic aberrations smile at us from celebrity magazines, or from our computer screens, wearing bikinis on the beach in Cabo weeks after Caesarean sections, or going straight from recovery room to Victoria’s Secret runway.”

Girl, please. Have you forgotten your years at the head of US Weekly glorifying these “near-emancipated, sexy Frankenmoms” (her words)? Is that mommy-brain at work? Man, get out of our boat — you’re weighing us down with your violin.

Min doesn’t act completely brand new in her NYT piece, though. She does take partial blame for lighting the match.

“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.”

But as Jezebel rightly said: Yeah, not enough. You started this game, lady!

Oh, and then there’s her new diet book –yes, for all you flab-wanna-be-fab new moms — that comes up next month. According to Jezebel, the book is “based on the methods of celebrity moms” and it’s called 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.

So basically …  Moms! They’re Just Like Us!

  • 1
    Kristin says:

    Love the voice in this post, and I’m glad she’s getting called out on helping to puff up the problem – perhaps so she can help deflate it with her new book? ;)

    • 1.1
      Ms. Mary Mack says:

      Thanks, Kristin. Yeah, she needs to be called out. I’m tempted to flip through the book (not buying!) just for shiggles. :-)