Kim Kardashian’s Maternity Shapewear Range Aims To Shape Expectant Mums!?! Aah, How Problematic
Controversies follow the Kardashians. Wait, if it wasn’t for the controversies and scandals, they wouldn’t even exist in the entertainment industry so that’s a sort of understandable. More often than not we enjoy the snippets of juicy goss (why do you think KUWTK is a guilty pleasure), but things take an ugly turn when what is clearly something for the screen is translated to real life and badly at that? Like in this case where Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS brand has maternity shapewear. Wait, what?
It ends up perpetuating beauty standards that are questionable. Remember Kim Kardashian fitting into a corset to make her waist look thinner than the ozone layer? Or the time she praised her mother Kris Jenner for being thin right after delivering? Her obsession with ‘perfect’ body and being thin often leaves everyone facepalming.
Once again, she has received serious heat from her fans and haters alike. This time it’s her shapewear brand Skims that’s been criticised for its latest range of maternity shapewear. I know, when Kim said her brand was a solution for every body type, we didn’t expect her to count in the pregnant ones either. But here we are. She launched the latest solutionwear for pregnant woman with 9 nude shades and sizes varying from XXS to 5X which drops today. The people couldn’t understand why expectant mums needed shapewear during pregnancy and why we should even promote unhealthy body image issues for pregnant women, which they already struggle with during the whole baby journey and after that.
Kim defended her range saying the idea behind it is not to slim but support the belly area. She said she had received requests from the tens of thousands of pregnant women to come up with the maternity range in Skims, adding that she herself felt the need to have one when she was pregnant. That’s okay, but why shapewear for pregnant women? Have we come to a point where a a little fat on the thigh will send us into a tizzy, even if a woman is pregnant?
It all started when Jameela Jamil, a commentator, actor and body positive activist, shared her concerns over Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS maternity line about how it could negatively impact the body image of pregnant women. She tweeted, “I wish we could just normalize just focusing on the inside of a pregnant body, not the outside. You don’t need your shape corrected or hidden. You don’t need an even more awkward obstacle between you and a piss. You just need to try and ride with this miracle and do your best to be as happy/comfortable as is possible within your circumstances.”
Kim took to the twitter to clarify and wrote, “To anyone who has an issue with maternity solutionwear, and if you haven’t been pregnant before you may not know the struggle of what it’s like carrying all of this weight the way I did along with millions of strong women, @skims maternity line is not to slim but to support.”. She added in a following post, “The belly part doesn’t slim your belly, it’s actually sheer and a thinner layered material compared to the rest of the garment. It provides support to help with the uncomfortable weight being carried in your stomach which affects your lower back and the compression on the leggings helps with pain relief caused by swelling.”
Not shapewear, but the medical benefits Kim is touting here are eerily similar to those of maternity support bands that have been around for quite some time now. While the research on such support bands is very limited, some studies show that it can help relieve pain to some extent and it’s safe to use during pregnancy. However, there are also studies that advice women to avoid constrictive clothing around the belly area in their later months. We are not sure how a shapewear fits in all these restrictions. Plus, all said and done it doesn’t take away from the fact that it does promote unhealthy body image and a pressure on pregnant women to look a certain way. Add to that most of the website refers to these products from the Kim Kardashian’ SKIMS maternity line as ‘sculpting’ which doesn’t sound very…pregnancy-friendly.
Kim said that the shapewear can be worn after you deliver. ‘Based on the majority of positive feedback we have received so far from pregnant women around the world, I am incredibly proud to provide a solution that will provide comfort and support during the times that we all need it most, during pregnancy and after,” she said. “It is also worn after you have given birth and provides the comfort and support that most women need after delivery especially if you are recovering from a caesarean,” she added. Okay, but Kim, your shapewear categorically has images of expecting mothers!
Even after birth, the extra flab on the belly and cellulite is natural and normal and so is gaining a few extra pounds. New moms need to feel comfortable and themselves post birth and the last thing they need is to feel the pressure to have a perfect-shaped body. Isn’t that exactly what we’ve been trying to normalise for years now? But we still somehow fall in the rabbit hole and hope to look perfect. Helpful or not, this shapewear does fuel a misguided body image, and we are not here for it.