Our friends at the Daily Fail want us to know that Julia Roberts is a "heroine for real women," because she bared her stretch marks while on vacation in Hawaii.
Writer Laura Kemp pens a letter to Roberts, inviting her to join the "Mummy Tummy Club."
I need not remind you that to be offered the position is a rare privilege, but you have earned it after you displayed such a fine example of a mummy tummy last week, with its crepey softness providing an inspiration for us jelly bellies the world over.
If you're headdesking over that ridiculousness, don't bother reading the rest of the missive; Kemp asserts that the rules of the MTC include neglecting your grooming; moaning about lack of sleep and having no grasp of world news or fashion sense now that you're a mother.
But when it comes to bellies, instead of stars on "Best Beach Body" tabloid covers, or Julia Roberts — who is a millionaire and for whom upkeep of appearance is part of the job description — might we look to a site suggested by a commenter yesterday?
The Belly Project, created by Dr. Karen Rayne and midwife Christy Tashjian, is a blog with a simple concept: It features submitted photographs of the bare, unPhotoshopped abdomens of "real" women, at various stages of their lives. Accompanying each image is information about the woman's reproductive history:
Rayne and Tashjian claim "nothing is as preoccupying to us as our bellies." They write:
Our bellies are intimately related our sexuality and to our reproductive lives. It's a complicated interaction, that confluence of sex and babies.
While I do wish there were more diversity in the submissions — age- and race-wise — the anonymous pictures do remind us that the female form does not exist to be judged by editors at In Touch magazine. That we all have varying shapes, sizes and skin elasticities, and there's much more to a belly than meets the eye. And though I'm not in favor of zeroing in on one part of a woman and going over it with a microscope, the Belly Project is a soothing antidote to this: