One of the many joys of being a woman in our society is the inability to please and ever-present and critical audience looking to dissect women’s behavior, life choices, and appearance. Oftentimes, it seems like there’s no escaping the sting of public opinion.
Unfortunately, a recent “controversy” surrounding a Canadian photographer’s photoshoot with two new parents perfectly illustrates just how much women are held to impossible and conflicting standards.
Photographer Trina Cary shot a series of breathtakingly gorgeous photos of Mel and Gabby— a couple who recently welcomed THREE children.
Carey was seeking models for a shoot in which she hoped to “showcase self-love, couples love, postpartum and body confidence all in one go.” Mel and Gabby, she told BuzzFeed were the perfect fit.
Mel, who is clearly a superhero, gave birth to three children in only twelve months. That’s right— she became pregnant with twin girls when her son was only three months old. These little miracles of nature, however, did take a toll on her self esteem. As she wrote in a blog post, it was “hard to adapt and fall in love” with her postpartum body.
“Every mom knows that it was worth the struggle for the end result,” she wrote. “But it’s still hard. You don’t have time to think of the way you look most days, but sometimes you catch a glimpse of your body and hardly even recognize the reflection staring back.”
But Mel decided to do the shoot “to let go and celebrate the journey [her] body had been through.”
“Not once did Gabby ever make me feel insecure about the way I looked,” she said. “He still thought I looked as beautiful as the day he met me. It was time for me to feel the same about myself and set an example for my girls.”
The love and positivity clearly shows in the photos— which are totally giving us #RelationshipGoals.
Cary shared the stunning photos on her blog with a clear message in mind: “Women, let us celebrate our flaws. Own our stretch marks and extra skin.”
It didn’t take long for the photos to go viral.
The photographer has shared photos on her blog before, but Mel and Gabby’s shoot really caught the Internet’s attention. The photos were shared widely, and Cary was inundated with positive feedback over the beautiful photos.
But “the Internet” still includes body shamers and trolls who will never be satisfied.
Cary told BuzzFeed she was shocked and upset by some of the responses.
As far too many women know, there is no pleasing the body shamers. In their minds, everyone is too fat or too skinny to deserve love or recognition— in Mel’s case, she was too skinny. Commenters said she was “too skinny” to be insecure about her body. Then the modesty police intervened, calling her a “slut” and a “hot” for sharing the photos.
…You’d think the trolls could at least come up with some more creative language for the insults. But we digress.
“People are cruel,” Cary told BuzzFeed. “I shouldn’t have been surprised as I deal with haters all the time regarding vulnerable sessions but I was in shock… The fact that people jumped at tearing her apart broke my heart. Insecurities are personal; you can’t tell someone how to feel.”
Sadly, Mel was so bothered by all the hate that she declined to speak to any media about the shoot.
Cary said the comments bothered Mel so much that she has declined speaking to the media about the photos.
“She read some of the negative comments and they really took a toll on her,” Cary said. “Words hurt.”
Cary had finally had enough of all the negativity, so she took to Facebook to defend the couple.
She felt compelled to point out the inherent sexism of criticizing solely Mel for the photos, and voiced her sadness over the hurtful delivery of opinion.
I hurt for Mel. I hurt for any other woman trying to regain her confidence and do something for herself. The gist of the comments were people who aren’t comfortable with their own bodies lashing out at her – funny it was always her never her husband. Everyone is entitled to their own view and opinion but there are many other constructive ways to voice that without being rude and hateful. This session was not about two people being vain this was about learning to love yourself again. There isn’t one person out there who doesn’t want a nice picture of themselves that makes them feel good when they look at it. Some people even went as far as calling her a slut or a hoe, shame on you!!! This woman has dedicated her life to her husband and her children. She is fighting personal insecurities and your best comment is to trash her?! It makes me physically sick reading comments like these. Words hurt, people! I feel sorry for the authors of these comments because they are the ones who need a session like this most but will never have the courage or strength to do one. They are the ones shrouded in jealousy and insecurities and choose to reply out of spite.
Ultimately, Cary said, she wrote the post because she wanted people to “see the love” behind the shoot.
… And we think she succeeded. (h/t buzzfeed
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