Is Sexy Maternity Wear Okay?

Displaying dyb.jpg
Dyanne Brown, MP Staff Writer
Beyoncé has come under fire for flaunting her sexuality following the birth of her daughter, but in a video discussing her latest album, she said, "Just because you become a mother, doesn't mean you lose who you are." And she’s is proving it in pictures, too. In one particular picture, Beyoncé is seen resting comfortably a lavish dressing room, wearing high heels and lingerie while a dress hangs on a hanger nearby as if it’s waiting to be worn by the pop star. She is smiling and staring at her daughter, who is distracted by a cellphone. It’s a laid back moment that you could imagine happening in anyone’s bedroom, but it sparked criticism and controversy when Beyoncé posted it to her Instagram account last month. 

Some questioned why Beyoncé was in a state of undress in front of her daughter. I can remember many times being watched by my mother while she was in the midst of getting ready for an event. It doesn’t seem abnormal to see a mother undressed in front of her own child. Perhaps, what sparked the uncomfortable feelings of viewers is the provocative nature of Beyoncé in her lingerie contrasted against her being in a tender moment as a mother with her child. This leads to a larger question about women’s sexuality and motherhood in general. The old expectation that a woman will become more demure once she becomes a mother seems to have disappeared in favor of a new expectation – mothers can be sexy. 

Society sends mixed messages about what is expected from women as mothers. A woman is judged if she doesn’t work hard to lose the weight from her pregnancy, yet that same woman may be considered obsessed if she loses weight too quickly after having the baby. If she’s out for a night, people think she should be home taking care of her baby. If she’s dressed in sexy clothing, her morals are questioned. If she’s dressed comfortably, she may be viewed as frumpy. 

More and more celebrities seem to have decided not to let pregnancy or motherhood define their sexiness. In the past, when celebrities were pregnant, you often didn’t see them in the later months of their pregnancy. Now, the media is obsessed with tracking the progression of a celebrity’s pregnancy and their choice in clothing to accommodate their weight gain. 

“Maternity clothes” and “sexy” are not usually juxtaposed. For the most part, maternity clothes are generally shapeless and do not accentuate the figure of a pregnant woman. Many celebrities have decided to forgo maternity clothes all together and instead alter designer clothing to fit their expanding frames. Tamar Braxton was praised throughout her pregnancy for being a style magnet. Kerry Washington is currently receiving praise for her daring style choices while pregnant, including a chic Prada crop top ensemble she wore to the SAG Awards this year. Increasingly, it seems that celebrities are finding ways to show that being pregnant doesn’t mean they have to give up their style. They have chosen to maintain their pre-pregnancy style throughout their pregnancy using creative styling, larger sizes and alterations. Celebrity style has the ability to influence the public. There has been a shift in the perception of maternity clothes to a preference for maintaining a sense of style during pregnancy. 

This change in perception does have its drawbacks, most notably adding pressure on women to maintain their sexiness during pregnancy and throughout motherhood. A woman’s body changes drastically during pregnancy and after. Not only does she gain weight, but her body’s functionality becomes more about the survival of her child than about attracting a mate. Once the baby arrives, she is more focused on caring for the needs of the child which leads to sleepless nights and exhaustion. If she suffers from post-partum depression, there are even more serious challenges to overcome following pregnancy. A woman faces a severe shift in how she views herself as a mother and how her body reacts and responds. If she’s breastfeeding, her breasts become more about feeding her child than about exciting her husband. “Sexy” may not be the first word that comes to a mother’s mind following pregnancy and into motherhood. This is not because of something imposed by society, but simply a natural progression that happens following such a shift in focus and lifestyle. 

Celebrity styling during pregnancy has opened up options for women in general. A woman can choose whether or not she wants to keep her style during pregnancy and throughout motherhood. For many women, it’s more about comfort and confidence than it is about sexiness. If a woman feels more comfortable still being viewed as stylish and sexy through her pregnancy, then she should embrace it. If she feels she should be more modest, then she should wear what makes her feel comfortable. The most important thing is that she feels good about herself so that her family benefits. A woman with the option to be who she wants to be a better mother; she has more love to give when she loves herself.

Poetic Pause: Saxe Joiner
Saxe Joiner

Strange fruit rocking and swaying from the branches of a walnut tree    
Uniontown, South Carolina
Yet there’s no unity in the year-1865
Streets filled with the random smells of that peculiar scent

No it’s not homemade apple pie
As today headline reads-  
“Mulatto slave Saxe Joiner burned alive”

The event was set –
The arrangements made
Everyone in town had come out to see
Dressed in their Sunday finest
The ladies had brought a taste of their best cobbler recipes
Saxe Joiner punished for protecting the master’s lady
This robust skilled man of carpentry
Loyalty and ignorance his demise
Despised because of his hue
The mulatto - quadroon

Crowds gathering at the viewing
Joiner’s melting body on display
His final words muttered
Broken misconstrued expressions,
“I didn’t want the Yankees to get madam”
He had built a safe house
Had made a way for her

The article reads,
As Joiner’s burning body hung from the tree,
The charismatic being
Swiftly conversing
Had foolishly considered them his peers, neighbors and friends
Joiner naively thinking he could reason with them
Had yet to realize his flesh was burning
Scorching red-hot his feet were on fire
Stripped bare his caramel flesh was glowing
The capturers had the mob mentality
By the court he had already been judged
Still they stormed his jail cell
However unfairly- they deemed his sentence too light
How dear he suggest to protect the one–

The porcelain queen  
Black men dying to steal her fragile delicacy
Paternalistic ideology –
Standing proud -
On a broken pedestal
Engulfed by the smells of
Fruit burning

Poor Saxe Joiner if only he hadn’t been taught to read and write
Thus today headline reads- “Mulatto slave Saxe Joiner burned alive”

By Antonia Abrams (2014)

Antonia Abrams, MP Staff Writer

Starting Over: How to Get Out of a Rut!

Bola A., MP Staff Writer
We are a couple of days from spring, and if anything we know about New Year’s Resolutions are true, we know right about this time, all New Year’s resolutions are deeply tucked behind our demanding life commitments and has worn out our January 1st resolve. Starting over is not an easy task- because that is what it is- a task. If it were easy, we all will do it, but we don’t because it requires us to dig deep, ask some tough questions, make some sacrifices and make commitments that honestly we are way too busy and tired to keep.

Getting out of a rut can vary from your job, relationships, finances and even your hair. It can mean that you feel like you are at the end of your rope (or already at the end of it) and have ended that job or relationship that still has its claws in you. Here are simple but honest ways to tackle this issue that plagues us all.

Have a honest meeting with yourself

You have to be clear about what you want. Get a clear vision of what you want in that area of your life. Light some candles, take a bath, do whatever it takes to prepare you to honestly dig in while you grab a note pad to document your meeting. You have to be brutally honest with these questions. Hang on tight the answers can hurt! 

Describe what you want VIVIDLY

There can be no short cuts here! Write down what you desire, and make sure it is clear yet realistic. While it is ideal to ensure that your vision is concrete, it is more important that you that you align it with an internal connection. For instance, you want a job where you are making a difference with a decent financial reward. Align this desire to an internal requirement. What does that fulfill within you? Does making a difference with a decent financial reward make you feel valued? Is value in your career an internal need? If that’s the case, your description should capture the external desires in a specific alignment to internal requirement (s). This allows you to gain insight into your make up- your value system. 

Be willing to do what it takes

Being in a rut or starting over demands a change that you have to be willing to commit to. At this point, your vision is clear. What are you doing now to get it done? What are you willing to do? What is it that if you continue to do now will certainly derail you from your now clear written vision? Are you willing to do what it takes now?

It is okay if you are not ready

Finding out what you desire and being committed to achieve the goals are two separate things. If you are not ready, it is okay. It is a possibility that your life situation can’t allow you to make the changes that you have come to find out is required. At least at this point in your life, you know what you need to do. Yet, you still want to reassess your rut, and create a more time specific vision, and adjust accordingly. So, may be you can’t quit your job yet, but you can write a 90 day plan that you have to adhered to that will give bring about your first change. 

Let’s get this party started- I am ready to go

Staying committed to short term daily concrete tasks goes a long way. Create task realistic short term goals. Completing five short term goals in 30 days can be your first tasks. Create one, and stick to it. Have you heard the phrase a journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step? It is so true, but you need someone to talk you through it at times because before you know it, you are on the bus back home. Most of us have the initial drive; our struggle is maintaining our commitment.

Get an accountability partner: They don’t have to know what you are doing daily, and you might not even have the same goal with your partner but you both must have a journey that you are walking. I know you have heard bird of the same feathers flock together. So, may be your partner wants to lose 10 pounds, and you want to grow out that natural hair. Well, hold each other accountable, did you do your task for today? Celebrate each other, if you can- Go out for dinner, and let your hair down on your one month mark! This is really important; if you didn’t meet your 30 day plan, don’t reward yourself with an accountability dinner. It just becomes another thing you didn’t do!

Have a secret vision place: This might be in a book, or on a board, on your phone, laptop or even a little draw in your house. You need a vision place to visit FREQUENTLY. I have heard about vision boards, but this is slightly different. You are doing this to remind yourself of the reason why you have your vision, and what you get to look forward to. Go over your vision in your mind, and just sit with the finished product. Do this at least once a week for five minutes.

Oops…: It is fine if you miss a daily task or missed something you planned to do. It does not give you the right to let it all go. Just pick up where you left off. Always keep on going, no matter what.
Lastly, it is really important to note that sometimes a rut and starting over- does not mean getting out of something, it means working through something. Find out why? Try to trace it back? Be willing to do the work. If it is your job, has it become too familiar? Give yourself a challenge, and find out what you can do to add an extra flair to your job, it can be minimal but it will bring a new you to the office. You might need to cut the hair off, or it’s a way bigger and the issue is terminal such as loosing someone. Well, it forces you to redefine your vision. 

Whether you are starting over or getting through a rut - it requires completing simple tasks and commitment to getting you through. Dust yourself off, wash the blurry mascara off your face and fling your hands open to embrace a new phase…Do you see yourself?