Fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, cellulite-shaming — like women's bodies, this unhealthy snarking comes in all shapes and sizes. Now, as People reports, we can now add to the pregnancy-shaming to the list. Is there such a thing as looking too pregnant to deliver the weather forecast? To some people, there is, because shaming women's bodies for looking exactly how women's bodies ought to is still happening. Sigh. Philadelphia meteorologist Katie Fehlinger is in her third trimester with twin girls, which was apparently too much visible information for some viewers of CBS 3 Philly. Even though Fehlinger is simply a healthy mother-to-be — and looks how pregnant women have been looking since forever — she began receiving a number of unsolicited, disgusting critiques about her figure. After being compared to a "sausage in a casing" and being told that "sticking your pregnant abdomen out like that is disgusting," Fehlinger decided to speak up. In a Facebook post, she shared "a little manifesto of sorts" to remind fellow pregnant women that there's nothing wrong with their prenatal shapes. "Frankly, I don't care how 'terrible' or 'inappropriate' anyone thinks I look," Fehlinger wrote. "I will gladly gain 50 pounds [and] suffer sleepless, uncomfortable nights if it means upping my chances to deliver [two] healthy baby girls." The post has since attracted more than 52,000 likes (as of this story), 4,000 shares, and a #CBS3 hashtag where other women are sharing photos of their pregnant bellies.
Speaking to CBS 3, Fehlinger attributed the post's popularity to its relatability. This isn't just about body-shaming pregnant women, either. The insults lobbed at Fehlinger echo broader patterns of stigmatizing how the female body naturally functions. Instead of allowing our bodies to be bodies, sexist standards dictate a sanitized, thin — but not too thin — ideal. Challenging that unrealistic beauty myth is something M.I.A. drummer Kiran Gandhi recently highlighted as her motivation to run the London marathon on her period, sans tampon. "Because it is all kept quiet, women are socialized not to complain or talk about their own bodily functions, since no one can see it happening," Gandhi wrote at Medium. Haters are always gonna hate. But the more women collectively stand up and speak out like this, the more this body-shaming narrative will continue to transform into a not-so-little "manifesto" of self-love and acceptance for everybody. Talk about an incredible thing we can collectively give birth to.