Jillian Michaels Hates Your Body, Maybe. Or Not. Should You Care?

April 26, 2010

So apparently Jillian Michaels is going to avoid pregnancy and childbirth for the same reasons that she avoids cupcakes and joy: because those things aren’t worth the cost to her perfectly toned, perfectly muscled, perfectly perfect body. Which, whatever. She’s entitled to make whatever cost-benefit analyses she likes about life and love and muscle tone. I’m not going to judge. Not much, anyway.

The thing that got me about her remarks about avoiding pregnancy and childbirth for the sake of her body (I’m not going to address her remarks about adoption, which, ugh. She wants to rescue something? Rescue a puppy, Jillian) wasn’t so much that she was articulating her choice to preserve her body against the ravages of pregnancy – which is ridiculous, really, because she makes a living showing others how to get and keep their preferred physiques after pregnancy and childbirth and cheeseburgers, so she should know that she doesn’t have to choose (I’ll get back to this) (holy longest sentence ever) – but her choice of words in articulating that choice. “I don’t want to do that to my body,” she said. I don’t know what her inflection was, exactly, but in my mind’s ear the ‘that‘ is totally italicized and dripping with icicles of disgust. ‘That.’ Ugh. Why do women do that to themselves? It’s just so, you know, yuck.

Here’s the thing. I don’t think that the ‘that‘ Jillian Michaels was referring to was simply weight gain and boob droopage. She’s a fitness coach. She knows better. Women don’t become irrevocably hippopotamized after they have children. If that were true, Heidi Klum and Gisele Bundchen and Demi Moore and Madonna and Cindy Crawford and Gwyneth Paltrow and countless other celebrity-type women would never have had children. Hollywood and New York would be entirely bereft of children. There would be no Celebrity Baby Blog and no Babble and no ‘bump watch’ and nobody would ever have wondered whether J-Lo really did demand couture delivery gowns. That, or they’d only ever adopt (ADOPT, Jillian, not RESCUE) and there wouldn’t be any kids left over for Angelina, or there’d be some twisted Handmaid’s Tale black market in mother-surrogates who pump out designer babies for celebrities on demand. (There’s not, is there?) Jillian Michaels knows this. Jillian Michaels knows that, if she wanted to, she could lose the 11 pounds she gained in pregnancy in about eight days. So when Jillian Michaels said that she didn’t want to do that to her body, she didn’t mean that she didn’t want to put on a few pounds of baby weight. She meant – I think – something different.

When she said that she didn’t want to do that to her body, Ms. Jillian was, I think (emphasis on ‘I think’ – this is only my opinion), expressing her disgust at the basic idea of becoming – as women do in pregnancy and childbirth and beyond – biological, which is to say, tethered to her body, to her messy, unpredictable, physical femaleness. This is, I think, something that reflects a broader public sentiment – I’m not holding her responsible for it – and it’s a shame, even though it’s rooted in messy fact. When you’re pregnant, you don’t – you can’t – control your body. You cannot control whether you lose or gain weight – no matter what, there’s something growing inside of you, and that thing has mass, and needs – and you cannot perfectly control how your body feels or how it moves. If you have morning sickness, you will vomit. If your feet spread, they spread. If you get night sweats, you get night sweats. If you have a high-risk pregnancy and are put on bed rest, you will be on bed rest. You might crave pickles, and if you crave pickles, you will have to have pickles and you will kill anyone who stands in your way. You will ache and lurch and leak. Your boobs will grow, and also, probably, itch. There is nothing that you can do about that. You are not master of your physiological domain when you are pregnant. You are body, beholden to Nature. And you just have to, for the most part, suck it up.

I was completing my doctoral degree in political philosophy when I was pregnant with Emilia. Before the pregnancy, I lived pretty much entirely in my head, and so it was a shock to be dragged so fully and completely into my body, into my meaty, physical self, and be stuck there. Yes, stuck. I felt stuck. I couldn’t concentrate efficiently and consistently. I had to nap more often, which is to say, always. Some days, I couldn’t make it to campus because I was just so exhausted from the work of being pregnant – the passive but nonetheless utterly fatiguing work of having one’s body devote itself entirely to nurturing a fetus – and if I did make it, I would invariably fall asleep in my office before I’d made it through a single page of my dissertation. My mind wandered constantly, but not upward, toward the pure Platonic Form of wisdom, but to the flutters in my belly, to the heart beating, literally, next to mine, to the tiny foot planted squarely on my bladder. I felt, in a way that I never really had before, physical. Biological. Animal. It was profoundly discomfiting. Also, amazing. It took me a long time to get to ‘amazing’, but I did. It was amazing, and worth every ounce of discomfort and then some. (Mostly.)

Jillian Michaels is not, shall we say, cerebral (redacted – for all I know she could be an avid reader of Tolstoy in between workouts). She makes her living working with sweat and sinew and all those gym-towel-stinky let’s-get-physical things – she makes her living working with bodies – so why should she, of all people, be put off by the messy physicality of pregnancy? Why should she be made uncomfortable by biology, by bodies doing what they were meant to do? Well, duh. She doesn’t help people lose weight and tone their bodies because she loves bodies. She does it because she hates them. Or fears them. Or is freaked out by them. Same-same. Her drive to get people into shape (and by extension, the drive of the entire fitness-diet-body-improvement industry) is, arguably, a drive to control that which terrifies and repels her (and, more critically, most of Western society): the natural, unperfected, unshredded human body. The natural human female body.

At least, that’s what her words – just a handful of words, pulled from a much longer that had nothing to do with pregnancy and childbirth but everything to do with being Jillian Michaels, body guru – tell me. She doesn’t want to ‘do that‘ to her body – by which she means, let her body take a natural course – because she’s fearful of not controlling her body. Fearful, and, I would venture, loathful. The natural body does not have six-pack abs. The natural body could not cut glass with its thighs. The natural body sometimes droops and squooshes and sags. The natural female body – especially the natural female body that is past the first bloom of youth – has all manner of parts that simply do not, on their own, defy gravity. The natural female body is messy and wild and powerful and unpredictable and soft in parts. Jillian Michaels, it seems, does not like this body. Or at least, she does not want it for herself, for any amount of time, and isn’t afraid to say so. That is the telling thing here.

That’s a shame. I’m not going to say that it’s surprising, because, really, like we couldn’t have guessed from her public profile that Jillian Michaels has an aversion to uncut, unchiseled, unperfected bodies. We know that we live in a society in which natural bodies -  the natural female body, in particular, and the natural aging female body and the natural postpartum female body (not to mention the breastfeeding body) – are regarded with something approaching disgust. Her words just underline that, and they point to the shame that is too easily attached to matters concerning the female body, and not just matters of weight. Jillian Michaels reminds us that we live in a society that is not just fat-phobic – although it certainly is that – but one that is gyno-phobic, if we take gyno to refer not to women qua women in all their natural messy glory and not women qua Barbie dolls. She reminds us that everyone likes to look at and talk about and champion women’s bodies – but only if they are, or are in the process of being, sanitized and perfected for proper cultural consumption.

Which, fuck that. Jillian Michaels is free to make whatever choices she likes about her body, and she’s free to proclaim them to the unchiselled, muffin-topped, pregnancy-ravaged masses. But I’m also free to call her proclamations messed up, and to direct my own personal improvement projects in more positive and self-loving directions. So. So long, Thirty-Day Shred; hello, Food Revolution, long walks and bike rides and swimming and soccer with my kids, a good bra and the occasional home-baked cupcake. And hello, loving my body, every droopy-boobed, ravaged-nethers, rumply, imperfect part of it. It’s amazing.

It’s a shame that the Jillian Michaels of the world can’t see that.

*Further comment, in response to comments: I did see that Jillian Michaels had tweeted and Facebook-updated that her remarks were taken out of context, that her aversion to pregnancy is about her own body issues, and that she has no issue with other women’s pregnant bodies. Which is fine and good, but doesn’t change the substance of my argument: that her expression of repugnance toward the condition of pregnancy and what it does to a woman’s body – whether that body be her own, or another woman’s, and whether that repugnance be rooted in her own personal history or in some broader aesthetic concern – has a potentially shaming effect. She’s a celebrity trainer, a woman who has a made a career counseling people about their bodies, a body expert, or someone who is seen as such. If she expresses discomfort with the effect that pregnancy has on women’s bodies, that carries far more weight than if, say, Spencer Pratt expresses such discomfort.

Also, while I’m all for being open and honest about our body issues – I have plenty of them, believe me, and I need to know that I can air them – I think that we need to be careful about how we express them, and that public figures in particular – whose words carry so much weight, deservedly or not – need to be careful. It’s one thing to have issues rooted in being called fat when one was young, and another to tell the world that one can imagine nothing worse than being fat. I’m not blaming Jillian Michaels for the culture of body-hating; I’m suggesting that what she said is both a symptom of that culture and a further contribution to it. She articulated the fear that undergirds so much of the disgust (explicit or implicit) that gets directed toward the unperfected female form, and especially toward the pregnant or postpartum female form, and reinforced it. Because if a super-effective, win-win-win celebrity trainer feels comfortable expressing that fear, and takes it to heart herself, how  can any of us expect to overcome it?

So. I’m all for accepting Jillian Michaels’ clarifications and disclaimers, but the effect of her original statment remains, and it is something worth talking about: why do any of us worry about the aesthetics of pregnancy and the postpartum body? Why do we have these issues to being with? Doesn’t it have something to do with the fact that celebrities say things along the lines of what Michaels said? And that we all understand too well what they mean?

As you were.

**Also! I’ve changed the title of this post (although the snarky original remains immortalized in the url). I was, I fully admit, a touch upset when I started writing this post – I am sensitive! I have body issues! And! I can be bitchy! – and I let the anger guide me and I got a bit snarky. Or a lot snarky. That was unnecessary, and – assuming that Jillian Michaels were to read this – hurtful. Jillian Michaels is people too. I shouldn’t have let my snark get the better of me.

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    Momma Sunshine April 26, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Jillian actually clarified her position on this on her FB page. You should check it out. She said:

    ” I appreciate all the support on here and while I know I don’t have to justify my position it is necessary to clarify it. I NEVER said I was anti pregnancy or that pregnancy ruins a body. I said that “I can’t put my body through it”. There are emotional issues and physical LIMITATIONS that have resulted in that conclusion – some I have discussed publicly and some I haven’t.”

    I don’t think that you should be angry at this woman for what she has said on this topic.
    .-= Momma Sunshine´s last blog ..Disappointment =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Ah, but I think that as a body professional, a trainer, a ROLE MODEL for women with body issues, she DOES have a responsibility to justify and explain any positions that she articulates that project any kind of shame on pregnant or postpartum bodies.

    Momma Sunshine April 26, 2010 at 11:51 am

    But was she really talking about ALL pregnant or postpartum bodies, or merely her own?

    I’ll admit to being an unashamed fan of Jillian, and it would seem to me that you’re taking her remarks FAR too personally.
    .-= Momma Sunshine´s last blog ..Disappointment =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    She was talking about her own, of course. But if I tweeted that *I* couldn’t bear to be fat, that I found the idea disgusting *to me* – wouldn’t that still have a shaming effect on anyone struggling with their weight? And if I did that as a public figure whose career is based on counselling women on their bodies… ???

    Shaunadnauseam April 26, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Word, sistah’. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Whatever her own internal struggles, Ms. Michaels is a role model. A role model not only to women (pre and postpartum), but to our children.

    We all worry what pregnancy will do to our bodies and hope that once our baby is born, we can take steps to regain what we once had -or close to it. When a fitness professional makes a statement like this, it makes that already daunting task, seem almost impossible; that somehow pregnancy will irreversibly destroy the perfect body we once had. Shame on you Jillian Michaels.

    I wrote a post a couple of days ago concerning (cough cough) my sagging pelvic floor and the 30 day shred. Ms. Michaels is mentioned…errr.. okay maybe threatened a little too. Just a little. Glad to see I’m not the only one frustrated by this woman.

    .-= Shaunadnauseam´s last blog ..Momma needs a new pelvic floor! =-.

    Tutugirl April 26, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I think, Catherine, that you have something I am jealous you have, but which skews your understand: a high regard for your own body. As someone who has struggled with body issues since she was young, and watched her friends struggle with (and nearly die from) the same body issues, I get where JM is coming from. She was a chubby kid who worked hard to lose her weight and made her career around her body. She’s bound to have a disordered image of her own body. Its not about YOU, its not about YOUR body, its about HER, and her inability to mentally deal with changes that others see as beautiful and part of life. There’s a difference between seeing a glowing pregnant woman, who you think is gorgeous, and considering your own body heavier if you have trouble accepting yourself at your current weight. It may be for a greater good, but that doesn’t always come through in our heads. Otherwise, why would Amalah receive questions like this one? http://tinyurl.com/293dfpt I think we need to stop attacking Jillian and start talking about acceptance of our bodies.

    sam {temptingmama} April 26, 2010 at 11:25 am
    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Oh, dude. I have MAD body issues. I struggle to maintain my love for my body, with difficulty. I understand all about disordered images. Which is why her statements bother me – she stated her issues as matter-of–fact. Why WOULD she do THAT to her body? As though pregnancy simply IS this terrible, body-mangling, irrevocably ego-destroying THING? As a body professional, who people look to for guidance in navigating body issues, I think that she has a responsibility to take great care in how she articulates her own issues, because so many people will take them seriously. Statements like hers get in the way of us accepting our own bodies, because they project into the public discourse this idea that there is something unseemly and icky and unsexy and unattractive about pregnant and post-partum bodies. Shaming, and shameful.

    sarah April 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    She said “that” and you took it to mean “terrible, body-mangling, irrevocably ego-destroying THING?” Wow.

    She has her issues, you have yours, I have mine. If she doesn’t want to go to great lengths to explain them, that’s her business. Saying that she is obviously – obviously – not cerebral is quite a slam for someone who might not be as articulate as you are, and comes across as dismissive and disrespectful to someone who works hard and excels at what they do.

    There is more to a person’s body than it’s looks; the statement is still ambiguous as to whether she’s referring to her hormones, her energy, her physique, or something less tangible. I’m currently 8 months pregnant and while I am amazed at what my body is doing, I’m also very aware of the toll that this pregnancy is taking on my body (my energy level, my stamina, my alignment). I’m used to being very physical; right now I can’t be & I’m frustrated by it. Before I got pregnant I was in the best shape of my life; shifting my mindset from “performance” to “gestation” was more difficult than I could have imagined, and despite what was going on, I felt betrayed my by body. For someone who makes a living being even more physical than I am, the toll would be greater.

    I think that, despite her wording, she is making a choice that in another context you might champion. She’s recognizing her own boundaries and choosing to live by her own rules. For someone who so often celebrates the differences that make us who we are, I’m saddened by your bile about this statement.

    Catherine April 26, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Someone who addresses other womens’ body issues as a *living* does, I think, have a responsibility to be clear about what she’s saying when she talks about her own body issues. Because she’s a role model, and because so many women – myself included – have looked to her for guidance in negotiating our own issues and our efforts to deal with them. So when she says that she ‘wouldn’t do THAT’ – in the same manner that Jamie Oliver might say that he wouldn’t do THAT, per providing junk food, to his kids – it’s understandable that some women – women with body issues – would recoil and take offense. Because when public figures – especially public figures in the beauty/body/esteem business – suggest that there might be something undesirable in taking on a certain physical condition, that carries weight. Heavy weight. It’s not wrong for us to pay attention to that, and to criticize it.

    I *was* wrong to get overly snarky about it, but I’ve added that to the post. Still, I stand by the substance of my criticism.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Boobquake: The Reckoning =-.

    Bernadette Smith April 26, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Thank you. You said it far better than I ever could. I was horrified when I read this statement of her’s about “rescuing something.” This from someone who is abusive and peddles dietary supplements not approved or tested by the FDA? Thanks, I will skip her advice and forge my own path, fat or not.

    Jene6kids April 26, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I always, always, always read your blog, but have never left a message….that is, until today….when you have officially become My Hero!! I could not agree with what you said more….and I would NOT trade a single one of my 6 kids(even the one who suffered and died of leukemia) for a hard body…..never!!! I actually feel sorry for her, what a crappy way to live your life.

    Michelle April 26, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I’m another who follows her on Facebook. Prior to the quote Momma Sunshine left Jillian also said, “There is a misunderstanding circulating in the press on my personal choice to not get pregnant. I think that pregnancy is admirable and selfless. For myself, I have remnant body issues left over from childhood which leads me to make adoption my personal choice down the road.”

    Laurie April 26, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I just blogged about this myself: My opinion is that Jillian’s comment should be put in context. First, we live in a culture that idealizes thinness. She admits to being overweight as a child and it’s possible that weight is a defining part of her identity. I can understand how someone who already has body image issues and anxieties would become increasingly stressed and depressed by pregnancy weight gain. I feel pretty good about my body, but even so, I remember when I stepped on the scale and saw a weight that was nearly 25 pounds more than I had ever seen before. My eyes bulged out!

    At this point my body is back to what it used to be, but even if it wasn’t, my body is not how I make my living. For Jillian, it is. And this brings me to my second point. Jillian is an individual and she should make the choice that’s best for her. Pregnancy would force her to alter her intense workouts. If she can’t handle changing her fitness routine, then she should not get pregnant. At least she knows her limits and admits them. For that, I give her credit

    Catherine April 26, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I giver her all credit for making a choice that suits her, based on her own limitations. But this post wasn’t about her decision to not have children. It was about how she articulated that choice, about her statement that that choice was because she didn’t want to ‘do that’ – that thing that so many of us have done – to her body.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Boobquake: The Reckoning =-.

    Candice April 26, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I can see where her clarification (as others have pasted it above) makes sense… but as a public figures, she still has to be careful about what she says and how she says it, specifically when she is talking about the female body, the thing that makes her famous and earns her money and, thus, she is seen as an expert in.

    I’ve had a pretty easy time letting go during pregnancy b/c, as someone who has nearly always been obese, my body never felt fully in my control to begin with. Never did I think this might be an advantage, but some of the comments above lead me to think it might. (And I’m right with you on the “living in my head” thing – one of my biggest shocks has been how little I care about my grad school work right now compared to how much I think about baby prep and napping.)

    I’m glad Jillian recognizes that she has issues; I just wish she made her statement with a bit more thought.
    .-= Candice´s last blog ..From the B word to a C word clarification =-.

    Molly Chase April 26, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I respectfully disagree, Catherine. I’m not a huge fan of Jillian Michaels or some of her techniques–I think shaming people into weight loss, while probably effective in a lot of cases, is unkind and uncivilized and unnecessary–and I hate that Biggest Loser show. But lots of women are just flat out afraid of what pregnancy will do to their body. I was. I am. It doesn’t have to extend to hating women or hating fat women or hating themselves. Pregnancy doesn’t feel “natural” to some of us. It doesn’t feel like “what I was meant to do.” It doesn’t mean I don’t like myself or other women or their kids or my own.

    I don’t feel disempowered by Jillian Michaels and her declaration that she doesn’t want kids because she doesn’t want to give up her body for nine months. I feel more disempowered by the sentiment that, because I didn’t care for being pregnant and it didn’t come naturally to me, I’m less of a mother to my kids or less of a woman.

    That said, I don’t think kids or pregnancy fit very well into Jillian Michaels’ notions of what she wants from life and her body. That’s fine with me. I’m terrified of what she’d do to a daughter and her self-image. I truly think she probably SHOULDN’T have any kids. But no, I don’t think that translates to her hating women.

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Hey, I didn’t like pregnancy either (as I said in a post that I linked to.) It was awe-inspiring, but it was also awful, as I’ve said here many times.

    I was afraid of what pregnancy would do to my body. It would not have helped if I’d heard Jillian Michaels reinforce that I had something to be scared of – not least because Jillian Michaels is a body professional. If a *trainer* is freaked out by pregnancy, WOW – shouldn’t we all be?

    (Also, I didn’t say that she hates women. I said that I *think* that she hates the natural female body, which is by definition flawed and vulnerable.)

    mapsgirl April 26, 2010 at 11:20 am

    you have made some very good points. But another possible thought… maybe she is against pregnancy as a defense mechanism. Maybe she can’t get pregnant. Many athletic women don’t have the proper hormonal balances to have a regular menstrual cycle. So in her quest for control of her body (and everyone elses), she has lost control of something that helps to define her as a woman. I dunno…just a thought.
    .-= mapsgirl´s last blog ..happy earth day: being treesponsible =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 11:30 am

    In which case, deflect the question. She made her answer about what pregnancy does to the body, and made it sound *bad*. Which is shaming.

    mapsgirl April 26, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Yes, I agree. Her choice is her choice, and she shouldn’t make others’ choices sound bad.
    .-= mapsgirl´s last blog ..happy earth day: being treesponsible =-.

    mapsgirl April 26, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Reading the other comments about the issues that she has had to overcome, makes her positions about not getting pregnant herself, a bit more understandable.
    .-= mapsgirl´s last blog ..happy earth day: being treesponsible =-.

    Laurie April 26, 2010 at 11:23 am

    I am not a Jillian Michaels fan. But in this case I think what she is saying relates entirely to her, not to other women. I was a fat child, as was she, so on that level I can relate. YOu say you lived almost entirely in your head until you became pregnant. I have always been sadly unable to escape a focus on my body – either because people forced me to acknowledge how offensive it was to them, or because I felt that way about it myself.

    I would have gladly been pregnant, if it had happened for me – I don’t have similar issues to hers. But just as I don’t think it’s usually wise or fair to judge women for becoming pregnant for whatever reason, I don’t think it is when they choose not to either.

    No one knows entirely what she has gone through to cause her to reach her conclusions and I am quite frankly disturbed by the hateful language I am seeing directed towards her.
    .-= Laurie´s last blog ..More is all you need. =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 11:29 am

    My issue is that she spoke as a public person, whose work is focused on helping people with their bodies – so she DID speak as an authority. It’s not her choice to not become pregnant that I object to; it’s her articulation of the choice, as something that she doesn’t want to do to her body, as though it’s an affront to the body. As something shameful, something worthily avoided. As a public authority on body matters, she shamed women who have made the choice to ‘do that’ to their bodies, by framing it as unchoiceworthy. If she had said, ‘there are personal reasons that will prevent me from choosing pregnancy,’ that’s one thing. But she didn’t. She said she *didn’t want to do that to her body*.

    She chose to be role model for women with body issues. I think that she has a responsibility, in that regard, to be careful about how she characterizes body issues – her own or others.

    Isabel Kallman @AlphaMom April 26, 2010 at 11:58 am


    i think you make an excellent point here, Catherine and this should have been made up top.

    Jillian is a self-proclaimed public authority on body matters and as such needs to be much more careful about how she discusses these issues publicly.

    I give her the benefit of the doubt because I have met Jillian and know how the media can distort. But others don’t necessarily have this info when making a decision.

    Good point, Catherine.

    Laurie April 26, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    I don’t see shame for anyone here but herself.

    I see it differently, that as a public figure, I respect her honesty. It made me, as a person with lifelong body hatred – not issues, hatred – appreciate the fact that someone who does work in this field could speak to the other side of the experience. She works primarily with people with lifelong issues related to obesity and body image. To know that she’s walked that walk in some fashion gives her a lot more credibility than someone just standing on my back and telling me to give her 20.

    I think we just see this differently and that’s fine.
    .-= Laurie´s last blog ..More is all you need. =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    word ;)

    sam {temptingmama} April 26, 2010 at 11:30 am

    At first I was really angry about her comment. Then I read her recent Facebook update and it made even more sense: It’s NOT about us. It’s about HER.

    I think it’s far more personal to her than EW! Fat is GROSS! and it’s obviously not something she’s ever divulged to mass-media but has reared its ugly head in this article.

    I felt ill reading her comments about rescuing. There are OBVIOUSLY a better choice of words than rescue for adopting a child. But I can’t fault her for that. I’ve said, done (and written) some stupid shit too and wished I could re-do but we can’t.

    I feel bad that her choice of words have brought on this firestorm of criticism and ban-Jillian-type attitude (not saying you, Catherine. There’s been a lot of it over this past weekend.) because I think she’s really does a fabulous job; I mean, look at our community alone and how we’ve band together to fight the bulge – a la Jillian Michaels?
    .-= sam {temptingmama}´s last blog ..Eventually It’s All About My Belly. (Okay, so the last part has nothing to do with my belly, but HELLO!) =-.

    Rbelle April 26, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    In or out of context, I have to disagree with anyone who says that her comments are only about her – and not even because she’s a public figure. I am not a public figure, but in my early twenties, I was still often disappointed with my body. My roommate at the time was easily twice as heavy as I was, and has been overweight her entire life. I am comparatively skinny, and yet I felt no hesitation at the time in complaining frequently about how “fat” I felt, any weight I had gained, that I was out of shape, that my clothes felt funny, whatever. And every time I did, I felt guilty, like maybe I had insulted her – but I would justify it by telling myself that I had every right to vent and speak up about my concerns because they were MY issues with MY body. I loved her just the way she was, and I felt like she should know that and take whatever I said as evidence only of how I felt about myself. Think she was able to do that? Think a woman easily 150 pounds heavier than what’s considered a “normal” or “healthy” weight for someone her age and size was completely able to divorce my disgust for my own extra five pounds from disgust for fat bodies in general, and hers in particular? Would you be able to? Would anyone? This is, IMO, the enormous problem with GM sounding off about this at all. Yes we should be able to express our fears and doubts and concerns about our bodies, and yes our issues are our own. But to this day I can no longer justify having complained so incessantly about my own body issues to someone I well knew had struggled with much more severe problems since childhood. To imply that I felt my extra few pounds and general out of shapeness was disgusting could not have failed to make her feel ashamed of her own weight and appearance. And if it’s not an ok thing for me to do to a friend, why on earth would it be ok for Gillian to do it to an entire public of women who follow her advice? I am quite sorry that she had so much hatred for herself and her fatness as a child, and she has every right to make whatever choices she feels are best for her and her body. Many of us have body issues, many of us worry about what might happen after pregnancy or even just eating that donut for breakfast. But it’s exactly this type of comment – not just from public figures but also from friends, family, doctors, and that random woman in the grocery store overheard complaining about her thighs – that end up making most of us dissatisfied with our bodies in the first place.

    Dara April 26, 2010 at 11:46 am

    This is the second time today I’ve seen mention of Jillian Michaels. I have no idea who she is but gather she’s a fitness guru.
    Perhaps there is a definite physical reason for her not to get pregnant, but in that article what struck me was her thoughts on adoption.
    But the article was obviously very skewed in the first place. Be interesting to see her actual quotes in context.

    Deb April 26, 2010 at 11:47 am

    This was brilliantly written. It’s my first visit to your blog, and I’ll be coming back. I get what so many comments are saying about trying to understand that she’s dealing with her own issues. That’s fine. I’m sure it’s true. Context is important. But this is a woman who sets herself up as a role model for health and physical beauty. Her personal decisions are communicating things to women. Loathing your own body is not a positive thing to be emulated, and I don’t want to be told (or even have it implied) that it is.

    fidget April 26, 2010 at 11:48 am

    After nearly killing myself and blowing out a knee doing the shred, I can attest to the fact that Jillian hates me and my baby bedraggled body. Why else would she yell at me so?

    She seems to recognize and own the fact that she’s the one with the short comings in this situation, though. I feel sad for her
    .-= fidget´s last blog ..attitude =-.

    Isabel Kallman @AlphaMom April 26, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Last summer Jillian Michaels publicly tweeted to her thousands of followers that I was “hot.” Yes, a mother. Me, an average-sized woman with big boobs and a butt. At the time I was probably the heaviest I have ever been in my life, so yeah, it felt great. She asked me about my son and genuinely seemed interested in my life as a mother.

    Listen, I want to give Jillian the benefit of the doubt as I would want to give other online acquaintances I have grown to trust.

    Disclaimer: I haven’t read the article since it’s not online (HELLO, missed opportunity WH!)

    Do I think that the statements on their own sound bad? YES.

    Do I think there is a chance they were taken out of context? YES, A VERY LARGE CHANCE.

    I have had my own comments taken out of context on purpose and it can be awful. And, it happens too often. Sometimes even by clueless writers who are cutting and pasting quotes to try to make their own points.

    Also, I do follow Jillian on Twitter and Facebook and she is very active in dog “rescue” efforts. For all we know the comment could have been about that and used out of context by a clueless writer. Just sayin’.

    Jenni Williams April 26, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I understand what the above commenter is saying about this being about HER and not US as women, but here is my issue: This woman has become a fitness guru to millions, she preaches and pounds healthy living and self love into her followers. Yet, she has so many body issues she could not handle the lack of control that comes with pregnancy? Whether she wants to be pregnant or have kids is her own choice, completely. And she is entitled to that opinion. But I think Cathrine has a valid point, Jillian is a public figure, who has made a career out of helping women gain physical health. Hearing her say this is like hearing Jamie Oliver admit he drinks a 12 pack of coke a day. It makes their public persona a sham.

    MommyNaniBooboo April 26, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I think you are right, Catherine- Jillian does hate the “natural” female body. She doesn’t like the soft parts, and that, I believes stems from the issues she mentioned on her facebook page.
    She’s in a tough position being a role model for women with body issues, when she herself has extreme body issues.
    And as far as the whole “rescuing” comment, it’s my personal opinion that she doesn’t think before she speaks- a lot. She lives so entirely in her body because her head is not a safe place for her to be.
    She has helped a great many pepople lose weight and become fit, but she is not perfect- none of us are.
    And if she would like us to be a little accepting of her flaws, perhaps she should be a little more accepting of ours.

    GREAT POST… love the debate-i-ness.
    .-= MommyNaniBooboo´s last blog ..Dear Black Cadillac Escalade =-.

    zchamu April 26, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    So, I would completely agree with you if someone truly said “the pregnant body or postpartum body is ravaged and disgusting”. I’m kind of thinking this woman more just said something without thinking. You’re right in that as a public figure it’s risky to do that. But I will give her the benefit of the doubt this time.
    .-= zchamu´s last blog ..Just when you think people couldn’t suck more…. =-.

    Sarah@EmergingMummy April 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I think that the greater issue isn’t necessarily the specific sentence that JM said (or didn’t say or didn’t mean etc. etc. ad nauseum). It’s the gem hidden here about the fact that much of the exercise culture or hyper fitness “everyone-must-have-a-six-pack” culture is a self loathing or hatred often directed towards others. There is an underlying issue of hatred about our physicality. The world has developed a distaste and disgust of our humanity, of being who we are, of an unsanitized view of living. Real life is messy! Real life has boobs that leak and most of us don’t get into a bikini on a national magazine just 12 weeks post partum. I appreciate the writing of this essay, a perfect mix of rage and wisdom, really, because the fact is that women in our physical self – enjoying curves, carrying babies, nursing, even mentrual cycles for heaven’s sake – is beautiful. It needs to be reclaimed.

    One of the kindest things I”ve done for myself is to throw away my scale. I’m not obese or exercise obsessed so no extremes here. But it is unhealthy to be that obsessed with perfection.

    Let it go and live life for heaven’s sake. let it be messy and gorgeous, sad and ecstatic.

    Sarah@EmergingMummy April 26, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    And also, just as an aside, I work and volunteer for an organization that deals with women whose lives are absolutely controlled by eating disorders (bulimia, exercise addiction, anorexia etc.). These types of comments are adding fuel to the fire for many women with mental illness or disease around these issues. It’s a gigantic red flag for me and all I can think whenever I hear this is of the 40% of girls in grades 1-5 that are ALREADY ON A DIET (source: NYT mag) and the girls that call us, daily, weeping with exhaustion and unmet expectations. Thanks a lot. Society is messed up and it’s hard enough to be a girl without this. (end rant) ;-)
    .-= Sarah@EmergingMummy´s last blog ..In which I end our Whole Food Challenge with a giveaway =-.

    Shannon April 27, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Sarah I am totally there with you about what girls are looking up to these days. Women, teens and even really young girls are now looking up to the celebrities out there, the ones who have thousands and thousands of dollars to look the way they do, to eat the way they do to have a personal trainer or dietitian or cook to help them eat the right way.

    I have someone in my family that is obsessed with her looks, even while pregnant she worried about what her body would look like, before she got pregnant she would say things. I have a 6 year old and I have told people to NEVER say anything about body image around her. Kids are soo easily swayed and influenced by what we say. My sister has done that, my daughter has already said to me that she is fat, needs to workout, etc… all just from my sister’s comments. I don’t allow her to watch anything that would give her that idea. I don’t comment about my weight in front of her, if she outgrows something, I tell her she’s growing up to be a big girl, not b/c her belly is a bit bigger (she eats and eats then gets taller so during a growth spurt she puts on a belly, then loses it as she gets taller lol). I have always had weight issues, growing up, I thought I was fat, I was told I was fat, I was constantly picked on, I look at pictures from my past and while I’m a big person (I actually do have a thick bone structure and wide shoulders and hips) I wasn’t FAT.

    I think for Jillian to have said what she said was a major NO NO. She’s looked up to, she’s a figure for fitness. Girls, teens, women are all going to see that and start having things go through their heads. Is it right for them too? No, but it’s going to happen, no matter how much someone says but it’s not about them, it’s about her and they shouldn’t think that way. Its gonna happen and sadly it’s gonna do more harm than good.

    Sierra Black April 26, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Oh, Jillian. I totally wanted to love her, but…yeah. My read was that she couldn’t put her body through pregnancy and labor because of the pain and impact…she might get her six-pack back, but there are stretch marks and things change shape and, well, you know. As you said, you’re out of control when you’re pregnant.

    On the other hand, the world totally needs more adoptive parents. Even if she said a dumb thing about adoption (and she totally did), I’m willing to believe she’s inarticulate but capable of being a loving responsible mom.
    .-= Sierra Black´s last blog ..My New High Efficiency Clothes Dryer =-.

    Backpacking Dad April 26, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Beware the tempting, low-hanging fruit.
    .-= Backpacking Dad´s last blog ..Blog Giveaway! Enter and Win! =-.

    sam {temptingmama} April 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Are you talking about peen again?
    .-= sam {temptingmama}´s last blog ..Eventually It’s All About My Belly. (Okay, so the last part has nothing to do with my belly, but HELLO!) =-.

    Bec April 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I don’t see anything wrong with her comments. She relies on her body for her career and simply can’t put her body through “that.” I totally get it.

    a April 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I read the story on Yahoo, and couldn’t quite figure out what bothered me about it. Thank you for putting words to the vague unease her statement put in my mind. I recognize that JM has body issues, and I hope that she takes this backlash as a cue to make her mind as healthy as she tries to keep her body.
    .-= a´s last blog ..It’s true… =-.

    andrea April 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    After reading her own comments on Facebook/Twitter/etc, it’s clear to me that she has her own issues around pregnancy that she doesn’t necessarily need to talk about. What if she’s infertile and doesn’t want to go through everything it could take to get pregnant? There are so many possibilities for why she made those comments – about HERSELF, not about anyone else – that I think it’s a bit presumptuous to draw as many inferences as you’re drawing.

    I’ve been following Jillian’s workout routines for a few weeks and have never ONCE gotten the feeling that she hates bodies – female or otherwise.

    There are plenty of people out there who actually doing harm to women’s body images out there, and it makes me sad to see the smackdown of someone who I think helps a LOT of people to be healthy.

    I understand the points you’re making in general and I agree with a lot of them – in other contexts. I think there is plenty of female body hating going on out there in the world and there should be more done to appreciate the wonder of childbrearing (I am a new mom myself – trust me, I get it), but I think placing so much of this onto Jillian Michaels is a bit misguided.

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I’m not blaming Jillian Michaels for the culture of body-hating; I’m suggesting that what she said is a symptom of that culture and a further contribution to it. She articulated the fear that undergirds so much of the disgust (explicit or implicit) that gets directed toward the unperfected female form, and especially the pregnant or postpartum female form – and reinforced it. Because if a super-effective, win-win-win celebrity trainer can’t get over that fear, who can?

    Ashleigh April 26, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I doubt that as an out Lesbian that Jillian hates female bodies.

    I also think that you have taken the word “that” and seriously twisted it up into the mainstream things that we all hear about post-pregnancy bodies.

    The world does need more adoptive parents, so she made a bad choice of words…she’s not an English teacher, she’s a glorified gym rat.

    Her body is her moneymaker, and so what if she doesn’t want to be pregnant or give birth. No need to hate.

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    On the contrary, I don’t think that I twisted the word ‘that’ – I think that her use of the word ‘that’ was (as I said) a confirmation and underlining of “the mainstream things that we all hear about post-pregnancy bodies.” If she’d said, “I wouldn’t binge on cheeseburgers because I don’t want to do that to my body,” would we have any doubt that she was expressing a judgment about what cheeseburger-binging does to a body? Why are we to take ‘pregnancy’ differently?

    She has every right to choose to not give birth – but I think that as a celebrity body trainer/consultant/esteem booster, she needs to be careful about how she talks about the different conditions of the body, because people look to her for direction and inspiration in how they think about their own bodies.

    (And? I didn’t say that she hates female bodies in general; I said that she hates *natural* – unperfected – female bodies.)

    b*babbler April 26, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Oddly, I find that this response possibly says more about your own issues with your body/pregnancy/post-partum that her original comments say about hers.

    You preface your comments by saying you aren’t going to judge (or at least not much), before going on to do just that. You state that OBVIOUSLY she’s not cerebral, which is not only judgmental in itself but a pretty arrogant and inappropriate statement to make. I’m pretty confident you wouldn’t want anyone to make the same statement about you based on a few comments. If you want to analyze her statement that’s fine, but you undermine yourself when drop that type of snark.

    Ultimately we don’t fully know her reasons. It was a comment taken out of context, with some poor choice of words regarding adoption. (Which, honestly, I’m not that offended by. As someone who languished in foster care as an older child, I would have gladly be “rescued” instead of adopted, if it meant going to a forever home – OH WAIT, isn’t that another animal rescue term. Damn it. But that’s neither here nor there.) I think you’re assuming a lot about her, her motives and her psychology based on a precious few words… and we all know what happens when we assume.
    .-= b*babbler´s last blog ..Ten days, twelve days, two weeks =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Not odd at all – this post has EVERYTHING to do with my own issues. That’s the point. A celebrated fitness professional expressing disdain for what pregnancy does to a woman’s body? Yep: triggered a lot of body issues for me. Again, that’s the point, and I underscored this above: if a celebrity trainer, who makes her living working with people to feel good about their bodies, says publicly that she does not feel good about what pregnancy would do to her body, and so is choosing to avoid it completely, that contributes significantly to what I think is a problematic cultural discourse that consistently tells us that the pregnant/post-partum body is unattractive/flawed/undesirable. And that cultural discourse is exactly what makes women like me ashamed of their uncut, unperfected postpartum bodies. So, yeah, you got me: this WAS all about me.

    And yes, I was overly snarky when I got cutting about being cerebral. I redacted that, and noted it in the text. But I was angry, because, again: this did hit a personal nerve. Which, again, is my whole point.

    Paperfairies April 26, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I think you are looking too much into Jillian’s “that.” By “that” she meant she couldn’t put her body through the ravages of pregnancy. Not the weight or the sagging, but things like the frankenvulva, and depression, and possible medical complications which she is hinting at. Just like some of us decide not to have *more* children because we couldn’t take more of *that.*

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    See, I think that there is a very great difference between making such a decision based upon one’s personal experience, and making such a decision based upon how one views others’ experiences. If I decide to not have more children (and I have) because I can’t go through PPD again or because my nethers can’t take further shredding, that’s a decision based on my own experience. If I had no children, and looked at friends who were mothers, and said to them over coffee, ugh, I just refuse to do to my body what you did to yours, would they not have some reason to be a little offended? I’d have been speaking about a choice made upon the basis of judgment – of them, and other mothers, NOT on my own experience.

    kgirl April 26, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Jillian Michaels bugs the shit out of me, and her comments don’t make me like her any more than I already do(not), but reading your post – which, many high fives on many points in there, sister – got me thinking.

    It got me thinking that actually, the truth is, many pregnant women feel the same way as JM. Women let fear rule their pregnancy and birth, let doctors medicate and freeze and numb the entire birth experience and I gotta think that a lot of it is for the exact same reasons JM is being lambasted for – because it is all too real, too biological, too messy, too out of control.

    JM needs to get a grip, clearly, but hey, she is just mimicking the widely accepted (although, not by me) pedagogy about pregnancy and birth in general.

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    That’s really my issue, I think – that she’s confirming all of our worst fears – that we CAN’T come out of this in a physical form that is worthy. If Jillian Michaels can’t, who can? For a celebrated body professional to say that – ugh. THAT’S why/how it becomes about us.

    Peggy Brister April 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I think too much analysis is going into what she said. I think she doesn’t want THAT happening to her body. It could be something as simple as stretch marks. Someone as tight and toned as she is isn’t going to have alot of stretch room and she might get bad stretch marks. It may not be all about self loathing and hating her own body and the bodies of other women. I think too much is being read into something simple.
    .-= Peggy Brister´s last blog ..Watch out Twitter bishes!! =-.

    Kara April 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    What it boils down to is FEAR. She is scared to death.
    Jillian was very overweight as a child and adolescent. She finally overcame whatever issues led her to that dark dark place.
    Then she had her nose reduced by plastic surgery. Searching for ‘perfection’?
    She plays such a tough hard bitch on the TV show.
    But she is not tough.
    She is scared to death of letting go, going into the unknown…and that applies to being and feeling and living through pregnancy, birth and all the hard unknowns that follow.
    She is a control freak. As all of us Moms know you have to go with the flow and do the best you can and go through the ups and downs and fat and thin, the messy and the gross and the beautiful and the love and things turn out great.
    As mine head off to college next year I can say it was all worth it.

    She is so up in her own head she would make a bad mom anyway

    eman April 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    If she expresses discomfort with the effect that pregnancy has on women’s bodies

    But she’s not expressing discomfort with the effect that pregnancy has on women‘s bodies, she’s expressing discomfort with the effect that they have on her body, and she’s said that it’s as much emotional as it is physical. My personal reaction was “good for her for recognizing it NOW.”

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    But she’s never been pregnant, so she can only be speaking from judgments she’s made in observation of other women going through pregnancy. I agree, good for her for recognizing that pregnancy and childbirth might not be for her, but she didn’t express her choice in those terms. She said that she didn’t want to do ‘that’ to her body, which (and perhaps she misspoke, although if she did, the words she chose have the same effect) directly implies the infliction of some kind of indignity, of something *bad* that cannot be recovered from. And she said it as a celebrity trainer. If Jillian Michaels doesn’t think that *her* body can come out of pregnancy looking acceptable, whose can? There’s really no import to her saying that publicly?

    marslo April 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    ” Jillian Michaels doesn’t think that *her* body can come out of pregnancy looking acceptable”

    I’m confused. Where does she say this?

    Paperfairies April 26, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    She NEVER said that, she never said she didn’t want to “ruin her body” like most media outlets are reporting. This is a perfect example of putting words into other peoples’ mouths. We are taking a pronoun and arbitrarily adjudicating meaning to it.

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    She said that she ‘didn’t want to do *that* to her body.’ The implication that ‘that’ does something negative to one’s body is clear. As I said elsewhere, if she’d said, “I wouldn’t binge on cheeseburgers because I don’t want to do that to my body,” would we have any doubt that she was expressing a judgment about what cheeseburger-binging does to a body? If Jamie Oliver says that we shouldn’t give our kids junk food, that we shouldn’t ‘do that’ to our kids’ bodies, we understand quite clearly that he is passing negative judgment on junk food. Why are we to take ‘pregnancy’ differently?

    marslo April 26, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Because the word pregnancy or pregnant didn’t come from her – the magazine attributed the meaning of the word “that”. She didn’t say pregnancy would ruin her body or that it ruins the bodies of others. And she certainly never said that she hates your body, my body or anyone else’s body. This is one (very short) direct quote, provided almost without context, in a several page article that was not even on the subject of pregnancy. Can we really assume that we know someone’s opinion based on nine words?

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    I think that you have to really, really be picking nits to not recognize that she was referring directly to bearing children – she responded to a direct question – - even if she didn’t state it explicitly. And to say ‘I wouldn’t do that’ very clearly implies an aversion to doing whatever that is, and she stated very clearly that her reason for not doing ‘that’ was for the sake of her body.

    MommaSunshine April 26, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    You’re making a lot of assumptions here about Jillian’s intention behind her words.

    It would sort of be like someone assuming that because you’re so outspoken and passionate about motherhood, that you think that those women who choose not to have children are “selfish and self-centred”. Would that be a fair assumption to make?

    Jillian may be a public figure but she’s entitled to her own opinions about what is and isn’t right for her and her body. I can state without a doubt that two pregnancies have left my body in a state that it will never fully recover from. For me, it is still worth having children for. For some people? Not so much. I can’t judge a woman for not wanting to have children because of what it will likely do to her body any more than I can judge someone for not getting a dog because it will probably pee on the carpet at some point.

    this is about Jillian, it’s not about you.
    .-= MommaSunshine´s last blog ..Disappointment =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    I don’t care one way or another about the intention behind her words. She stated that she did not want to ‘do that’ to her body – physically bear children, the very clear implication being that pregnancy has some undesirable effect on women’s bodies – and as a celebrated fitness professional, those kinds of statements, coming from her, carry some weight in contributing to public discourse about women’s bodies. It’s not a question of what I think about her desire, or lack thereof, to have children. It’s her statement of WHY – because THAT would do something undesirable (and, given her area of professional expertise, presumably undoable) to her body. She’s a BODY EXPERT, or portrays herself to be, and is widely received as such. So when she says that SHE wouldn’t do X, Y or Z because those things would compromise her body, people listen. And I think that it’s a troubling message for us to hear, for a whole lot of reasons.

    Look, if a parenting consultant – say, SuperNanny said, oh, hey, breastfeeding is great, but I wouldn’t do it, wouldn’t we all be taken aback at the discouraging message coming from a supposedly trusted source? How is this different? Of course these things are personal, but when you position yourself as an authority in an area (in her case, bodies) and then give a public interview about something pertaining to that area (what X might do to your body), it becomes something of a public issue.

    Carrie April 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I think the problem with JM’s comment is it re-emphasizes what society seems to tell us everyday. That if our bodies look at all like we might have carried, birthed, and possibly nursed a baby then they are unacceptable. We aren’t supposed to look like a woman.

    I was speaking to a fellow fitness instructor today who has a 7 month old baby. She says she feels like the “fat” instructor at her gym. I think she looked great! She has curves and to me is beautiful but because she’s not rail thin with six pack abs she feels inadequate. I think that’s a shame! And comments like Jillian’s just fuel those feelings.

    And yes that may just be how Jillian feels about herself. But really that’s not what most of us hear and I think she has a responsibility in her profession to try not to further negativity towards a real woman’s body.
    .-= Carrie´s last blog ..PiYo in the Park tonight! =-.

    cagey April 26, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    She is a public figure whose entire career is about building bodies AND an image.

    Does it make me want to rend my garments? No, but it does make me feel sad because her comments, represent to me, something bigger. Something fairly indicative of our society today. And for all the people who worship Jillian Michaels, they read her comments and they may very well internalize them. As a public figure, she holds some responsibility for her words.
    .-= cagey´s last blog ..Raging Arizona. =-.

    IzzyMom April 26, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I had the same reaction about the “rescuing something” remark she made. As an adoptee, it’s insulting to be regarded as a “thing” that needed “rescuing” I suppose some children awaiting adoption DO need rescuing from all manner of horrible situations but to make such a blanket staement, well, it just reeks of ignorance of the true nature of adoption. As noted, you rescue a puppy, not a baby.

    In regard to the rest, I find it curious that someone who helps so many people improve themselves thinks that a post-pregnancy body is beyond help, even for an accomplished “fitness” professional such as herself.

    Lisa April 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    This is the first place I read about the real physicality of pregnancy. That was the big surprise to me about mothering, how biological/animal it is. Well said.

    I enjoyed that more than the discussion of what Michaels did/didn’t say or mean. Doesn’t seem exactly fair to have a long discussion on what you think she meant. I do agree that the damage of what she said was done, regardless of her retractions.

    And while I appreciate your follow-up edits, I think changing the headline/title of your post is only fair.

    Two Pretzels April 26, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    QUITE the thought-provoking post. I have to admit, when I read her original comments I was disgusted, as well.

    Especially when she sells her shred workout DVDs to countless postpartum women.

    Sure… use the woman’s work out system just know that if you’ve had a kid or two, it may not work too well. If you want your body to look good – obviously the answer is to not have borne children in the first place.

    .-= Two Pretzels´s last blog ..…and what a special birthday it is… =-.

    Jennifer Martin April 26, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Would you want someone that self centered about her body and appearance bringing and raising children in the world?

    Gelfling April 26, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Leave it to women to give other women a bad time about the decisions they make for their own bodies. After so many strides that have been taken for women to have the rights to do w/ their bodies what they WANT and not what others WANT them to do…and it’s always other women tearing them down for being honest.

    I admit, I’m not yet a mother, but am in the “trying” stage of the process. However, in casual discussions w/ other women about child-related matters, I’ve already figured out to NOT discuss it because every single woman that holds even a slightly different opinion on baby-related matters visibly RECOILS if I admit anything I may possibly do differently.

    It’s sad – I almost feel like I would much rather give birth to a boy so they don’t have to be a girl and grow up surrounded by other women just poised to attack them over holding a different opinion. Again…sad.

    Tina C. April 26, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    well said. also, your argument clarifies why some women won’t breastfeed which goes along those same lines of reasoning against wanting to be pregnant.

    Carol April 26, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    It’s very sad that her body issues won’t allow her to experience the beauty and joy of growing her child. My body, perfect before childbirth, became even more beautiful after the birth of my child. These things that make my body different than it was pre pregnancy are the very same thing that allowed this amazing human being to grow and become who she is today.
    .-= Carol´s last blog ..The cake lady strikes again =-.

    Renee April 26, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    I have 3 kids, and when I compare my body now (9 months post-partum) to my rockin’ 25-year-old body pre-pregnancies, there is no question which I’d rather have. Of course, I think the kids are worth it…To me, it just seems like Jillian is saying she doesn’t think they are. Which – yah – seems a bit selfish and myopic to me, but really is best for her to have realized BEFORE she decided to have kids. (I personally think she threw in the whole rescue/adoption thing just to seem like she wasn’t anti having kids in the first place…) I really think you are reading way too much into a two-sentence answer. And, if she really isn’t all that “cerebral” (and aren’t you being a tad insulting there…), she probably doesn’t have the same thought-process as you do when making a statement. I have absolutely no problem with what she said. And, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go work out to the 30-Day Shred now…

    Tracy (Tiny Mantras) April 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    In the abortion debate, “pro-lifers” often treat pregnancy like a much simpler undertaking than it really is, physically or emotionally. Truthfully, there are about 1,000 things that can potentially go haywire in a woman’s body, and some women are more predisposed to those, or capable of tolerating those than others.

    So sure, Jillian is a fitness icon, but “that” could mean so very many things, especially when it come from a woman who put out two hugely successful books in the past year about all of the things in our environment that can skew our hormones and metabolism.

    Plus I’m a journalist and I’ve done a lot of interviews. Even when you’re a fan of someone and think you’re writing the nicest story anyone has ever written about them, you hear through your own filter and then add new filters, depending on how you take and process your notes. What you end up with is an impression of the truth. That day’s truth at that temperature, further mitigated by that crankypants editor who just broke up with his girlfriend (God, I hate that).

    The only way for her to be careful enough with her language would be not to talk about it all. But then we wouldn’t be here again, together, talking about the fact that reconciling with your body after having babies is flipping hard, and referring each other to theshapeofamother.com again, because it’s a healing place to visit.
    .-= Tracy (Tiny Mantras)´s last blog ..Plant an alveolus for Earth Day =-.

    Jenny, Bloggess April 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    I love you and I love even more that you wrote this passionate piece and then came back and said “I still feel strongly but I may have over-reacted”. That takes guts.

    I’m a recovering anorexic/bulemic and I know that people like me can do terrible things to their unborn children because they sometimes can’t recover enough to embrace the body changes without hearing the horrible voices in our heads. I’ve know people who haven’t been able to carry a child to term because they weren’t able to conquer their own demons. I feel bad Jillian. Whatever her reasons, she’s unable to experience something that so many of us wouldn’t trade for the world.
    .-= Jenny, Bloggess´s last blog ..Random Ramblings of an Insomniac: Boobquakes, dangerous squirrels, things we already knew about men =-.

    CubbyMama April 26, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    I think you’re putting words in her mouth. I might say I “wouldn’t want to do that to my body” in reference to running a marathon or training for the Olympics, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the utmost respect for those who do–it just means it’s not for ME. Not wanting to do something does not necessarily equal disapproval, distaste, or a negative opinion of it, and I think Jillian shows a great deal of respect for the mothers who appear on the show. While you’re entitled to your opinion, it seems to me like you’re reading quite a bit into the very few words she uttered on the subject, and projecting your own issues onto what she said.
    .-= CubbyMama´s last blog ..No More Chewies =-.

    Fairly Odd Mother April 27, 2010 at 6:57 am

    I honestly almost didn’t read this post b/c I thought it was another one raking her over the coals for her way of talking about adoption.

    But, wow, I’m so glad I read this—I’m not 100% sure I agree that Jillian hates her body so much that she doesn’t want to be pregnant, but there is something about it that rings a chord with me. In my 20′s, I would’ve told you “no, no, never, do I want to have babies”. They just seemed so “ick”, so unfun, so ruinous to the good time I was having in my career and social life. I probably would’ve wrinkled my nose in disgust at the idea too.

    But, I’ve also had bodies issues, sometimes pretty severe, and being anything more than a wisp makes my brain give off “you’re fat” messages automatically. Makes me wonder if I was coming from the same place as Jillian in those years.

    Ultimately, I think her heart is in the right place—I don’t hate Jillian Michaels and don’t think she is hates soft bodies or pregnancy. But, she might hate them for herself which is why she is making those statements. I just don’t want my daughters to hear them.
    .-= Fairly Odd Mother´s last blog ..I’m Promtacular. . . =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Yes. This – “Ultimately, I think her heart is in the right place—I don’t hate Jillian Michaels and don’t think she is hates soft bodies or pregnancy. But, she might hate them for herself which is why she is making those statements. I just don’t want my daughters to hear them.”


    I should have just said it that way.

    Daniel April 27, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I have 3 kids, and when I compare my body now (9 months post-partum) to my rockin’ 25-year-old body pre-pregnancies, there is no question which I’d rather have. Of course, I think the kids are worth it…To me, it just seems like Jillian is saying she doesn’t think they are. Which – yah – seems a bit selfish and myopic to me, but really is best for her to have realized BEFORE she decided to have kids. (I personally think she threw in the whole rescue/adoption thing just to seem like she wasn’t anti having kids in the first place…) I really think you are reading way too much into a two-sentence answer. And, if she really isn’t all that “cerebral” (and aren’t you being a tad insulting there…), she probably doesn’t have the same thought-process as you do when making a statement. I have absolutely no problem with what she said. And, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go work out to the 30-Day Shred now…

    Her Bad Mother April 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I was being insulting, and I expressed regret for my excessive snark.

    mom101 April 27, 2010 at 8:33 am

    You know what? I didn’t want to do that to my body either.

    But in the end, I wanted to have more to show for my existence on this planet than perky tits and a flat belly. I can live with that.
    .-= mom101´s last blog ..Comedy Czentral =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 27, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I didn’t want to, either. But I would never have said that to any of the moms that I knew, for fear of insulting them.

    And yeah. Perky tits are overrated.

    andrea April 27, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Jillian wrote this on her Facebook page: “I appreciate all the support on here and while I know I don’t have to justify my position it is necessary to clarify it. I NEVER said I was anti pregnancy or that pregnancy ruins a body. I said that “I can’t put my body through it”. There are emotional issues and physical LIMITATIONS that have resulted in that conclusion – some I have discussed publicly and some I haven’t.”

    I really think people should give her a break. Women are the worst critics of other women. Just because she’s famous, she has to have her words and her character ripped to shreds. It’s really sad and makes me feel disappointed in people who I thought were strong women.

    Her Bad Mother April 27, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I’ve already said a few times, in the addendum to the post and elsewhere, that I feel badly for being overly snarky. But I stand by the substance of my argument. Because she’s looked up to as an expert and role model in the area of body issues, she DOES have responsibility to be careful about how she talks about body issues or anything that might trigger body issues. Her words were clear – it’s great that she’s clarifying, but her original statement didn’t leave a lot of room for thinking that she *wasn’t* worried about the aesthetics of pregnant/post-partum bodies. As a writer at Jezebel put it, her words made it sound like having a pregnant body was akin to bodily injury. Poor choice of words at best, and words that just add fuel to the pop culture fire of disgust directed at imperfect bodies.

    Maris April 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Andrea, I agree with you. Yes, as a public figure she should watch what she says, but she’s not the first public figure to misspeak. She is, after all, only human.
    .-= Maris´s last blog ..Pecan-Cardamom Pound Cake (or Chai Spiced Pound Cake) =-.

    Stone Fox April 27, 2010 at 9:54 am

    i agree that jillian michaels has a responsibility, as a well known fitness trainer, to really monitor what she says. what she said, “i can’t handle doing that to my body,” really sounds like she thinks she’d be ruining her perfect figure. if it were strictly a matter of body issues, wouldn’t she have said that instead? “well, i don’t know if i’ll ever have a baby, as i still am working through some body issues.” and, in terms of anatomy and physiology, she COULD handle doing “that” to her body, it’s something our bodies are designed to handle. and if her body couldn’t physically carry a child, wouldn’t she have said that instead? or non-said it in a vague, ‘medical issues’ kind of way?

    just the way she said it, i don’t think there’s any misinterpreting what she meant. if she meant anything else, she would have said it a different way. she’s a plain spoken woman, and she certainly doesn’t mince words.

    it is pretty sad that a generation of young women (and men) are being given the impression that having a great body carries more value than going through the (good, bad, ugly, painful, amazing) experience of growing a baby.
    .-= Stone Fox´s last blog ..Grateful (but not Dead) (almost, though.) =-.

    lamia April 27, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Sorry mommies but I have to applaud Jillian for being outspoken about sentiments that other women-including myself-have and fear to be blunt about because of societal pressure, and let’s face it soccer moms who call us selfish.
    I for one enjoy living in my head and I’d rather not even menstruate at all. I don’t like being brought down to my body by cramps or bloating. Like Jillian I was overweight as a teen and like Jillian I lost it. I don’t have a six pack yet-trust me it takes years of hard work (not just crunches), and one’s body fat has to be below a certain level, say at most 16%-for the abs to show. That said, I love the feeling of control that I get from working out. I love being able to control this muscle and that muscle-that is how I choose to get out of my head.
    Personally Nature has made it so that the feelings and misery of the female are inevitably compromised. Starting from conception-and from how the child is conceived to begin with, through painful penetration-to labor and beyond. and in Nature yes the female body is mostly soft fat tissue, leaking and uncontrollable.
    Yes, perhaps Jillian did mean that THAT is what she does not want, not just the weight gain. And to the blog owner: one cannot lose 11 lbs in 8 days, if you are speaking of fat loss: that equals creating a deficiency of 11*3500 calories. Not even the Biggest Loser contestants always achieve such high numbers. And sorry but not all women are your typical 5 8 140 lber soccer Amazon mom. That means, somebody of Jillian’s size needs to exercise 1 hour a day and burn about 400 cals from exercise to get to your average 2000 cals a day burn. Even with that, eating a 1200 calorie diet, she would lose about 1.5 lbs a week.Now these are just the numbers side. Jillian and many women store fat in the thighs and hips-the so called baby fat, the stores the body thinks it and the baby will need in case of famine. Those stores are locked and bolted, let me assure you-no matter what your calorie burn is, they will not come off. And if the bone structure changes, as it does during puberty with the hips enlarging, then gone are the pre-baby sizes, forever.
    So excuse me for saying this but not all of us want to experience the messiness you speak of: the night sweats, the farts, defecating on the delivery table while people are polite about it, spreading your legs in front of your loving family members, or spreading your legs for the pleasure of males while one suffers, leaking milk all over the place, support bras, blood and more blood, gore, placenta-the stuff of your nightmares, gas, vomiting, stretch marks, soft fat tissue, all of that and more, we say NO to it. Sorry, the child might be worth it for most because you are dictated by your hormones-the same hormones that tell you to forget the pain and succumb to the animalistic whims of the male species and basically be butchered and conquered.

    Her Bad Mother April 27, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    The 11lbs in 8 days was a joke – a snark at the tabloids that consistently claim this or that celebrity dropped their baby weight in 4 weeks! 2 weeks! 3 days!

    Also, butchered and conquered? Wow.

    Stone Fox April 27, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    If you read this post, the comments on this post, any part of this blog, or any part of just about any mom blog, you will see that being a mother does not mean you are “dictated by hormones.” Most (dare I say All) of the discussion here generated by this topic is based on a mixture of fact, life experience, and a person’s own considered point of view. I did not read all of the comments, but none of the comments I read were written by women helplessly at the mercy of their hormones.

    It is disgraceful to all women that you would liken having a child to “succumbing to the animalistic whims of the male species” and being “butchered and conquered.” Having a child may not be your choice; that does not mean those of us who do have children were brainwashed and victimized by “the patriarchy” into becoming breeding machines. What a load of hateful garbage.
    .-= Stone Fox´s last blog ..Grateful (but not Dead) (almost, though.) =-.

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