On Friday, Beyoncé finally confirmed what the adoring public had long been incessantly speculating over and celebrating: that she had given birth to her twins, Rumi and Sir, a month before. The Instagram photo offered the first-ever public glimpse of the babies, nestled in their mother's arms. The snapshot depicted Bey glowing like the goddess she is in an outdoor seaside garden before a beautiful backdrop of climbing roses, and wearing a floral ensemble and blue underwear — but it also marked the official "debut" of her post-pregnancy body, as many were quick to point out. Of course, the photo launched plenty of relentless critique, which was encapsulated perfectly in this one rumor about Beyoncé's post-baby body (and which also proved that people should probably shift their focus elsewhere).
The rumor, as People reported Saturday, is that Queen Bey has not resumed her undoubtedly intense workout regimen since she welcomed the twins with husband JAY-Z last month. "She is all about recovering," an anonymous source reportedly told the magazine. And it's not just People making a story out of whether Bey is actively try to slim down after bringing two new humans into the world. The website Gossip Cop on Sunday slammed a report that the superstar has started exercising again as "fake news," attributing her perceived weight loss to "giving birth to two decent sized babies, the release of water weight days after delivering, and adhering to a strict diet in the subsequent weeks."
Whether the skimpily sourced report is that Beyoncé is furiously working to lose the baby weight as fast as possible or that it's just not really her jam right now, lots of people had lots of opinions about her body in the photo, which exposed her stomach.
On Twitter, some were impressed and envious:
And it's fine to respectfully admire Beyoncé's body — it really is. But it's also important to remember that the way she looks in the photo is not necessarily the result of working her butt off to meet society's oftentimes unrealistic standards of how a woman should look — or at least aspire to look — not long after giving birth.
Which is what makes analyzing Bey's postpartum body so dangerous. Anyone who's admiring her flat stomach and toned legs and speculating about how much time she spent with her personal trainer (or didn't) in the past month to look like that might want to ask themselves: Why? Why do we expect her to strive to rush back her pre-babies weight and fitness level? Why do we believe that this matters as much to Beyoncé as it does to us? Why do we regard this photo of a superstar as a paradigm for other mothers, too?
ABC News correspondent Mara Schiavocampo, for example, certainly believes that Beyoncé set some sort of standard with her recent Instagram post. In a Facebook post, she blasted the entertainer for posting a photo of her body that Schiavocampo regards as unrealistic:
You all know how much I love Beyonce. But I found that photo with her twins to be really disappointing. NO ONE looks like that a month after having a baby, let alone TWO, in their mid-30s no less. Totally flat tummy...not a wrinkle or sag or stretch mark in sight. Those images are so damaging to regular women who have a baby and think "what's wrong with me?"
Here's my problem: Unless she's a genetic outlier, she's going to great lengths to deceive us about what her body looks like ONE MONTH after giving birth. It creates the expectation that you are supposed to "snap back" effortlessly in just weeks. Why not wait three months...or six? Or post a picture not in your underwear?
Btw, this is not an invitation to start slamming Bey in my comments. I'm still Beyhive fo life!!!
The fact is, though, that Schiavocampo and all those voicing similar frustration are the ones perpetuating the idea that all women should look like Beyoncé after giving birth — not Bey herself. Beyoncé made no such statement in her photo (in fact, it's likely she was making other powerful stances that these same people probably missed). Yes, it's true that we live in a society that rewards women when they do everything they can to eliminate wrinkles and stretch marks as Beyoncé appears to have done, but that doesn't mean that she created those expectations.
So, as for whether or not Bey has been working out: Who cares? She looks the way she looks; That may be different from the way other women look after they give birth, but every woman looks fine. More importantly, no one, including Beyoncé, should feel pressured to start exercising so soon postpartum if they're not ready, and more importantly: It's no one's business.