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Gwyneth Paltrow Blames Breastfeeding For Body Problems

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

According to several British tabloids and newspapers, Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow reportedly plans to make use of cosmetic surgery to help shift her figure back to the look of her pre-breastfeeding days. Paltrow who has long extolled the virtues of a natural lifestyle including macrobiotic diets, yoga and alternative therapies has apparently made room in her belief system for cosmetic surgery, if it helps return her breasts to their previous state.

"I think women who have breastfed understand what I'm saying - that if you get a boob job it's more reconstructive surgery, actually, than cosmetic surgery,' Paltrow told the U.S.magazine Allure. "Everybody should do what makes them feel good and happy as long as they are not starving themselves to death. But if you can eat in a healthy way and keep exercising and get a little something done here and there, why not? I'm sure when the time comes, I'll be in there doing something," Paltrow said.

Paltrow has a nineteen month old daughter named Apple and is reportedly expecting another baby in the late spring.

Makes me wonder if I need to mail a "Nursing, Nature's Own Breast Enhancement" shirt to her?

On a more serious note, while I understand that women like Paltrow rely on their figures to earn their living, I also worry about what this release says on several levels.

First, it does nothing to promote breastfeeding as a positive experience to young women looking for role models. Instead, it acts as a "warning" that breastfeeding will destroy their figures so fully that they only way they'll ever recover is by going under the knife. After all, if a health-conscious woman like Paltrow has to resort to plastic surgery, how do the rest of us have a chance?

Second, it supports the unattainable myth of the perfect body. It puts more mothers out there that have been nipped and tucked into perfection to hide the physical signs of motherhood and keeps real women out of the public eye.

On second thought...maybe I should send her a "nip/suck" shirt?

[edited to add]

I've been thinking more about this since I made this post...and I'm trying to figure out where I really stand on this issue.

On the positive side of things...she breastfed and that's great. She's right that no woman is going to argue that breastfeeding changes your body...it's just the question of whether that bothers you or not. She's also right in that the way her body looks plays a major role in her career.

But people always told Barbara Strisand that she needed a nose job if she ever wanted to make it in Hollywood...

I guess I'm torn. (as much as I can be torn for not really caring about celebrities)

What I'd really like to hear is whether or not she plans on breastfeeding her next child. If she does, then I think I'd think more highly of her...sort of a "yes, breastfeeding was hard on me, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat." Right now the article sort of implies "Man, I wish I'd never done THAT!." Knowing which version of that is true would put a different spin on this...


  1. Blogger MrsNomer | 7:09 PM |  

    Also, Ms. Paltrow is simply wrong. Breastfeeding does NOT cause sagging breasts. The hormonal changes in pregnancy as well as time and age are more responsible for that than breastfeeding is.

  2. Anonymous Jax | 2:08 AM |  

    I would think more of her if she left well enough alone. I don't have a problem with exercising and dieting (although with a sensible approach to the latter) to rebuild your body after childbirth, and I really must get around to doing some myself! But reconstructive surgery? No, that's excessive.

    Apparently her agency is CAA - drop her a line care of them?

    Difficult though, isn't it? If you've done the breastfeeding/ baby bearing, *is* there anything wrong with surgery afterwards? My gut feeling is yes, it's unnecessary, but that's just my opinion.

    Welcome home btw, good to have you back :)

  3. Blogger Jennifer | 6:12 AM |  

    I was admittedly surprised when the very pro-breastfeeding debate board that I frequent were pretty much 75% in favor of surgery after they were all done breastfeeding.

    I guess part of me should be glad that they feel that strongly about breastfeeding that they are willing to sacrifice their bodies for several years, but the other part of me feels pretty sad that despite being such empowered women, they still so strongly tie their self-image to recreating the breasts of their youth...

    Dunno... tis interesting. And yes, I may have to give some thought to sending a shirt her way...could be interesting...

  4. Anonymous Jax | 4:13 AM |  

    According to the Daily Mail, this article was first seen in Allure Can't find any discussion of it in their forums though, and that doesn't seem particularly surprising, on the very quick scan through that I had. Also can't really search to double check that this is the right magazine - anyone stateside able to confirm that?

    However, there is a short discussion thread on the Daily Mail site, so I'm pondering joining that. :)

  5. Blogger Jennifer | 8:59 AM |  

    Also lots of discussion going on in the thread over at the Feeding Choices Debate Board at Baby Center...

  6. Anonymous Jax | 11:54 AM |  

    That is indeed a fascinating thread - wonder how come when so many of us seem unconcerned about post feeding breast shape, actresses feel the need to consider surgery. Is an awful lot of this pressure we put ourselves under completely manufacturer (well yes, we know it is, but why do we fall for it?)

  7. Blogger Jennifer | 2:53 PM |  

    What I find interesting is the feminist argument of it all...

    The feminist in me says why would you risk unnecessary surgery to "restore" your body to it's pre-mothering shape? So that men can find you more attractive? It seems like a loss for feminine power for women to feel like they "need" to do it.

    On the other hand, these women are taking the feminist perspective of "why shouldn't I do something that makes me feel better about myself."

    Very interesting how you can really create to sides to it, both of them empowering and sad at the same time...

  8. Blogger Wicked Stepmom | 2:16 PM |  

    I'm more or less pro-cosmetic surgery, if done for the right reasons (i.e., for YOURSELF, not b/c of others), and have actually wanted it for myself for a number of years. Aside from not having the funds for a boob job right now, I've put off pursuing it until AFTER I am finished having babies/breastfeeding. I would not want to do anything that would interfere with my ability to nurse my children. I just had my second child 6 weeks ago and am loving being able to nurse her; I did not have such an easy time with my son 3 years ago, so this is a totally new experience that I would not want to miss for anything!

  9. Blogger Vacation Mamma | 10:04 PM |  

    Hmmm...Jennifer...if you send her the ..."natures own enhancement shirt" the problem is, it only enhances during breastfeeding! Let's be honest gals, it does impact your breasts, and differently for every woman, and differently based on how long...
    I'd just like to get some feeling back? Can surgery do that?
    It's her body, her choice - isn't that what feminism is really about?

  10. Blogger Jennifer | 5:45 AM |  

    Dunno, I personally noticed absolutely no different while pregnant, breastfeeding or after weaning. Only time that I ever saw any difference was when I was engorged and that doesn't last for long.

    I have heard from many women that there's a big difference for them...though most agree that it's pregnancy that takes the toll, not nursing. You just don't notice it until that "natural" breast enhancement goes away. :)

    I agree with you about choice and feminism to some extent...

    The reason that it's only to some extent is that I'm not sure it fully counts as a choice when most of that choice is the result of societal pressure.

    The thing about feminism is that it can propel women into a certain choice under the guise of choice. Like the fight going on now between WOH moms and SAH moms. Feminism told us for years that we needed careers to be fulfilled, but now many women believe that their own true fulfilment comes from raising children. Thus the mommy wars begin with feminists on both sides...

    I'm not sure that the whole having plastic surgery to "fix" your body after you've had children is victory for feminists. Rather I see it as the result of women buying into the idea that if you no longer look young and untethered that you aren't sexy...and if you aren't sexy, you're worthless.

  11. Anonymous Jax | 1:03 AM |  

    I've noticed a difference, but it isn't major and it isn't bad, so I guess I'm one of the lucky ones.

    I agree with you about choice being influenced hugely by society, I'd like to see a society where we all valued each other for our contributions, no matter what those contributions are, be they working from home or staying at home. Different ppl are comfortable doing different things - equal doesn't have to mean the same.

    Coo, this is getting deep over here ;)

  12. Blogger Vacation Mamma | 9:53 AM |  

    I do think the whole societal pressure is the reason many women make the "choice" for surgery - it makes me sad. I guess my point though, sad or not, Ms. Paltrow has made a choice in her work that includes her looks as currency, so post bf enhancement is again her choice. I may not agree with it, but I can accept it. It is much greyer though when you get into the average woman who has surgery because of societal pressure to look different (not better) than she does. It's the woman's choice, but is it truly of her own free will?

    No more deep thoughts from me - need to finish my coffee first!

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