Normally, Victoria's Secret is the
one who nails it when it comes to making the models in their ads seem
relatable. I mean, this is
totally how I look when I'm warming up by my radiator. And this
is how my friends and I look when we get together for a glass of wine and to
hang out. And this
is how I look on Christmas morning.
new advert, featuring a model pushing her 2-year-old in its new high-end "Runner" jogging stroller, kind of
takes the cake. In the ad, uber-fit model Ymre Stiekema is wearing an itty
bitty strappy bikini while pushing her Bugaboo and baby Boo. She is long, she
is lean, she had dewy skin and sinewy thighs and abs for days. She is, I might
guess, not the target demographic for most stroller companies.
Many of us worked out before and throughout our pregnancies, and we
continue to do so after, albeit at a more frenzied pace because baby might wake any
minute or dinner is cooking or we can only allow our toddler to zone out for 30
minutes of cartoons before we officially start to feel bad. So running with
your kid doesn't seem like such a bad idea. Mom gets to do something good for herself, Child gets
to view the world at a fast, exciting pace. Mom also sets a strong example of
how to live a healthy lifestyle; it's win-win.
The model is fit, strong and gorgeous, and I'm not interested in tearing her down even a little bit.
Still, the reaction on social media
to Bugaboo's boo-boo was swift and predictably snarky. (À la "I often jog in my
bikini.") It's just that many of us are so over
seeing these types of largely unattainable images everywhere we look. We're
sick of being made to feel less-than because we have cellulite or don't
breastfeed, cook and deliver a PowerPoint presentation at the same time, or
don't serve our kids fresh fruit sliced into koala bear shapes. I can't even
muster the energy to be angry at the image itself,
because the model is fit, strong and gorgeous, and I'm not interested in
tearing her down even a little bit.
All you can do is laugh at this point
and take solace in the fact that lots of moms are backlashing against these
sort of "You can/should do it all" mom-targeted ads with their own images, like
Hollis, who was unapologetic about allowing her stretch marks to see the
light of day on her beach vacation. Or Julie
Bhosale, the New Zealand mom who's been posting pics of the real/typical
post-baby bump. Or musician Kimberly Henderson
(her lullaby cover
of Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know" received nearly 6 million hits), who got real with fans who always compliment her on her figure and revealed that
after four kids, her six-pack has been replaced with loose skin and stretch
marks … and that's OK.
This ad isn't about a mom running
in a bikini. It's about coming to terms with the fact that some ads—many ads,
actually—are total fantasy for 99.9 percent of the population, and we
shouldn't get too down on ourselves if the area between our navel and our C-section scar looks a bit like a Sharpei.
We can't all be Dutch supermodels
born in 1992 with post-baby abs that could double as a cheese plate at a
cocktail party. But, with a little practice and a sense of humor, we all can
try to find some compassion for ourselves, some admiration for another woman
doing her thang, and a sense of solidarity among moms who know that sometimes, just throwing on a T-shirt and yoga pants and playing tag with your kids counts as a workout, too.