Why Kate Middleton's Post-Birth Dress Was a Feminist Choice

No matter how little or how much you care about the British royal family, you must've seen the pictures of Will and Kate presenting their new son to the entire world.

There's a lot of tradition in that picture. The royal baby is always born in the luxurious Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital, and his or her first media appearance is always upon the parents' departure of the hospital. The baby is always wrapped in white blankets. In a touching tribute to William's own birth, Will sported light blue just like his father and Kate wore polka dots like the late Princess Diana.

But there is one thing that goes against tradition, both royal and common: the cut of Kate Middleton's dress.

Instead of opting for something resembling a tent like Princess Diana did, Kate chose a dress that was relatively figure-fitting, curving around her still-prominent belly and highlighting an important but often overlooked fact about life post-pregnancy: your body doesn't just magically revert to its pre-pregnancy self.

In fact, it takes about two or three weeks for the uterus to shrink to its pre-pregnancy shape, and that's not counting any of the other stresses that are put on a woman's body during pregnancy and childbirth. That also doesn't mention how new moms are faced with feeding, washing, and looking after a brand new baby, tasks that are incredibly time-consuming and infinitely more important than losing weight or doing crunches.

But our society is nothing if not looks-obsessed and women are the ones who suffer most as a consequence. In regards to pregnancy, women today are pressured to immediately revert to their former selves post-birth and lose the "baby weight" with no regard for health, rest, or well-being. Nowhere is this more prominent than magazine covers targeting pregnant celebrities, with headlines praising those who strain themselves back into their bodies as soon as possible ("I got my body back!") and shame those don't, including the most recent barrage against Kim Kardashian for somehow gaining too much weight while pregnant.

The focus is not on the child or on the celebrity's happiness or health, but merely on the fact that she needs to be attractive as soon as possible no matter what the cost.

And before you think that this is all an exaggeration, consider this OK! magazine cover that hit stands less than 24 hours after Kate gave birth:


OK! has since issued an apology after a massive #dontbuyok Twitter campaign, but the fact that nobody thought twice before making Kate's weight the focus of the royal baby coverage is both ridiculous and indicative of our culture.

That's what makes Kate's choice to highlight her belly so important. Thousands of moms from around the world have applauded her for not being afraid to showcase her natural body and several people have stated that her choice of dress "has done more for new mums’ self-esteem than any other role model." By nonchalantly wearing that blue polka-dotted dress, Kate both made a point to display her post-pregnancy changes and reaffirmed that the focus was her happiness and her new child, not her body.

With such a powerful and intelligent woman as his mother, there's no doubt that baby boy George will grow up to be an outstanding human being himself.

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Medha Chandorkar

As a junior at Georgetown University in Washington DC, I'm studying Government, Women's and Gender Studies, and Justice and Peace Studies. I'm interested in social justice issues, particularly women's rights in the developing world, and politics. Outside of school, I love dancing and reading, and I'm a huge TV / movie buff. In the future, I hope to become a lawyer but right now, I'm just focused on the moment.

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