I know you probably thought I was joking with that headline, but sadly, I’m not. Seriously. Super-hot Bollywood actress and makeup brand ambassador (oh! and prize-winning beauty queen) Aishwarya Rai gave birth six or seven months ago to a darling little girl named Beti B, and when the above photo was released yesterday of what Aishwarya looks like now, fat comments flew like pig shit in the wind* (*I don’t know what that means. Ask Miley).
The criticism of Rai’s post-pregnancy figure has been fierce.
“Aishwarya is like a goddess,” said Showbusiness columnist Shobhaa De. “She is held up as the ideal of beauty and so there is an expectation on her to look perfect at all times.”
One website posted a video, complete with elephant sound effects, entitled “Aishwarya Rai’s shocking weight gain”, which has been seen more than 500,000 times. “She is a Bollywood actress and it is her duty to look good and fit,” suggested one commenter. Another added: “She needs to learn from people like Victoria Beckham who are back to size zero weeks after their delivery.”
“There is a glorification of motherhood in India and Indian cinema,” said cinema professor Shohini Ghosh. “But people are confused because they don’t know whether to glorify Aishwarya in her new motherhood or lament that she is not looking like a runway model.”
India has long grappled with the question of what beauty means but in an age of global media – Indians are familiar with western celebrities and how quickly some of them appear to regain their pre-baby bodies. “The role models being held up are Angelina Jolie and Victoria Beckham,” said De. “But our body frames are different – we have wider hips and curves – so this whole business of looking desperately skinny two weeks after giving birth is a western import.”
Well damn. I personally think she’s beautiful, double chin or not. And this is really not all that different from what’s going on with Bryce Dallas Howard. You (and by ‘you’, I mean people who are all judgey about post-baby figures and expect that all women should look like Gisele Bundchen or Victoria Beckham after they give birth even if said women weren’t built like Gisele Bundchen and Victoria Beckham to begin with) see beautiful women day in and day out with lovely figures—thin, curvy, robust—but it’s somehow different when a woman has a child and looks different than she did nine months before. Honestly, would you rather the person just gain forty pounds from doing nothing and being lazy and eating like crap than to look marginally different post-natal? Come on. Wake the f-ck up already.