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Taking the shame out of shapewear

Date: November 26, 2012 | Posted By: Audrey
Photo of Kourtney Kardashian carrying baby gear, with Spanx showing.

Can we really fault Kourt for wanting to seem as slim as she did pre-Penelope when instant post-pregnancy weight loss is celebrated so publicly in our culture?

Bump Watch (the obsessive and voyeuristic tracking of celebs’—or anyone’s, really—growing pregnant belly) is so last year.

Today, it’s all about Spanx Watch, or rather, trying to catch the moment when celebs unwittingly flash their Spanx in public.

That’s right. Who’s wearing “shapewear” is now big news.

Just recently, new mom Kourtney Kardashian was caught out as she juggled baby gear. As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail (the definitive leader in Spanx-watching), Kourtney was wearing a loose top that rode up as she lifted. There were Spanx peeking out underneath.

Jennifer Lopez, age 43, has also recently been called out for relying “on the holding-in underwear” to “keep her famous curves in check.” In fact, during a recent concert in Italy, she revealed her secret to shapeliness when she turned her back to the audience and flashed her “control pants.”

And then there’s Brooke Shields and her recent “fashion mishap” while attending a Broadway show.

Sure, she was dressed to the nines and killing it by any standards as a 47-year-old mom of two, but what’s remembered? That “as she stood confidently in front of flashing lights, the nude coloured control pants she wore to help define her enviable figure became visible.”

This is a thorny issue, but here’s where I stand: While I actually find it refreshing to know that not all celebrities have washboard abs buried beneath their clothes, Spanx Watch is problematic for lots of reasons.

Photo of Brooke Shields in sheer dress that shows Spanx.

Um whatever. Her body has birthed two babies, and she looks awesome, Spanx or not.

First, it encourages an even fiercer (if that’s possible) scrutiny of celeb bodies and lives. (It has us spying on their unmentionables, for chrissakes!) And secondly, Spanx Watch is totally hypocritical.

Our ever-stricter beauty standards demand that new moms bounce back to bombshell status days after delivering and that women over 40 years old best sistahs half their age. Yet if they look for a lil’ help on the down low (in the form of  shapewear), they’re ridiculed for their efforts and vanity.

Wow. Talk about all kinds of messed up. Paunchy belly? Not okay. Quick fixes for paunchy belly that don’t involve obsessive dieting and body torture? Also not OK. Huh?

The “bottom” line? Spanx Watch falls into the category of Don’t Hate the Playah, Hate the Game.

Of course, I wish we all weren’t so concerned about muffin tops and cellulite, but sadly, that’s where we are culturally right now. And I don’t think publicly mocking women who wear Spanx as they try to meet today’s impossible beauty expectations makes the situation any better.

Audrey D. Brashich is the author of All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty




What Do You Think?

3 Responses to Taking the shame out of shapewear

  1. Christi on 05-07-2013

    Shapewear has been a lifesaver for me before, during, and after pregnancy. Best product ever!
  2. Tori Lexington on 06-13-2013

    I found this great video for maternity clothes and pregnancy shapewear http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYRR2Z1nEGQ. Thanks for sharing this article. I got some good ideas from reading this.
  3. Tori Lexington on 06-13-2013

    Sorry this is the video for the pregnancy shapewear http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYRR2Z1nEGQ