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Feb 3 2011

Us Weekly! Star! People! OK! Life & Style!…or Dostoevsky?

By at 9:02 am

I was having a fine day. I had an interview to do and a dress to pick up for the Writer’s Guild Awards this coming Saturday night while my husband had the boys. We were all set to meet up after naptime. The day was going fine.

Until I was waiting to pick up my dress and all they had to read in the waiting area were… celebrity magazines. I will not name them by name because my publicist would love for me to appear in them someday and indeed, if/when I do, it will be a big deal in terms of visibility and I will gladly do my job and appear gratefully.

However, that being said, I got really depressed looking at these magazines. I got grumpy as a mom. As a regular old tired overwhelmed mom, which I promise you I am.

In these magazines, I saw celebrities who had kids three hours prior to these photo shoots and they were glowing and looked so happy and competent (I was a wreck for three months after both of my son’s births, and three hours after each I was thinking I was okay but I was also on a birth high and was still not aware that I was walking around buck-naked!). I KNOW the celebrities in those magazines have hair and make-up crews and touch-ups in Photoshop and assistants and probably chefs and nannies too. But still…I couldn’t help having that “Oh my goodness, I am not as________ as them.” Not as trim, not as fresh-looking, not as good-natured (have you ever read about a celebrity who wasn’t perky, friendly, sweet, and relaxed!?), not as together, not as seemingly happy.

I get especially grumpy as a holistic mama when celebrities talk about the joys of epidurals and shunning breastfeeding because “it wasn’t going well.” Not that they have to be like me for me to like them, but millions of people do look to celebrities for wisdom (I am not entirely sure why!), and I wish the whole story could be included about natural birth choices and why breastfeeding challenges can be overcome with the right support and education.

I did get a glimmer of joy when Ali Larter (who I watched for all of the seasons of “Heroes”) discussed nursing her baby after he was placed on her tummy. It was nice for her to present those aspects of birth and adjustment as normal and beautiful (which I happen to believe they are).

I want to think that I am perfect just the way I am, but honestly, these magazines make it hard! I think that people want to see the idealized version of humanity, and that’s part of the appeal: these publications present our actors and musicians as quaffed and pristine as they are when they are on stage or on screen. Most people simply don’t want to see grungy, sweaty, sloppy celebrities bumping into things and dropping their entire purse upside down in front of a fancy restaurant (not that that’s ever happened to me). People want to continue the fantasy.

Well, I’m here to say I am over the fantasy. It makes me too grumpy to see the fantasy. I get upset, I get down on myself, and I just can’t do it anymore. So the next time I go to pick up a dress at this place, I am bringing my own reading material: a juicy thick Dostoevsky novel or if I’m feeling especially frisky, maybe some Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Who says I don’t like a little fantasy once in a while?

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

3 Responses to Us Weekly! Star! People! OK! Life & Style!…or Dostoevsky?

  1. Acrophile says:

    Go, Mama, Go! The media is kind of poisonous in so many ways, it’s scary. It’s hard to escape, too. In a few doctors’ offices and car repair shops I’ve seen science or home-handy-tips magazines, at least a *little* relief there! I’m also a mom who wants to read something that isn’t poisoning my self-worth, nor that of my family, thank you. Right there with ya, Ms. Bialik. You go, girl!

  2. Jordan says:

    Please take a copy with you and then leave it there on the table for some other mom who is just as sick of the fantasy as you are! For once I’d like to walk into a waiting room and see an actual book on the table.

  3. Maria says:

    I read a study years ago in a psychology text that was done in the 70’s where even an image flashed before the subjects eyes could negatively or positively effect their mood. So I decided to do my own experiment: I cut as much media out of my life as possible – no more magazines, no news programs (especially Entertainment Tonight and the like), and noticed a huge difference in my attitude toward both others and myself. I like fantasy too, but not the kind that makes me grumpy and self-loath. Here’s to Dostoyevsky and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Cheers!


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