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Moms, is pressure to be sexy the mother of all objectification?

Moms are multi-tasking machines. People expect them to raise the kids, keep the house together, have careers and be the emotional rock of the family. And, one writer argues, moms are expected to do all of these things and look sexy while doing them.

Calling it the "tyranny of the sexy mom," Time's Susanna Schrobsdorff argues that what was once a feminist goal to acknowledge that mothers retain their sexuality even after childbirth has now turned into the mother of all objectification.

Ms. Schrobsdorff points to the recent inclusion of a photo of actress Jennifer Garner in a one-piece bathing suit after giving birth to her third child. In the celeb magazine caption, Ms. Garner is praised for her "sexy post-baby body." To most, this caption would seem like quotidian celeb news fluff, but to Ms. Schrobsdorff, it's much more insidious.

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"Yup, in America it's a big deal when a 40-year-old actress and mother of three does not appear in a bikini with ridiculously toned abs four months after giving birth," she says. "While indulging in the mental junk food of celebrity magazines isn't the end of the world, it does feed into an addictive contrast-and-compare game we play with our bodies, which numerous studies have shown erode our self-image and predispose us to have depression."

But not everyone is buying Ms. Schrobsdorff's tyranny argument. Jen Doll at The Atlantic Wire suggests that this hyper-obsessed "sexy" culture doesn't just oppress moms. It oppresses all of us.

"Moms may be 'sexy' but women in general are 'sexy' and Olympic athletes are 'sexy' and male strippers are 'sexy' and even books are 'sexy'," she says. "Everyone and everything is sexy, or at least, pretty much everyone and everything we're supposed to look at and aspire to be or to want is 'sexy.' Schrobsdorff is partly right: All this sexiness is exhausting!"

Exhausting it may be, but that's not discouraging some mothers from trying to achieve "yummy mommy" status.

On her blog Twinisms, Bridget argues that wanting to be a sexy mom is nothing to be ashamed of:

"I worry about my appearance. Does it make me a bad mom? Am I self-objectifying? No. I'm being a normal person. Normal people want to look nice."

Her point is echoed in a piece on Bunch, which says that it's time moms stop judging other moms.

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"There's no right way to be a mom; no level of sexiness that's too piquant, no mom jeans too prudish. There is [not], and never should be, a mom uniform," the post says. "And if there really is a tyranny of the 'sexy' mom, we should all feel happy that it's fairly easy to ignore."

Moms, do you feel pressure to constantly be peacocking your sexiness all over the place?

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About the Author

Madeleine White is an online editor and reporter for The Globe and Mail. More

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