Just in case you missed the fur-and-diamond trimmed T&A fest that was Tuesday's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Slate television critic Dana Stevens has kindly penned a recap. While admitting that the chance to "glimpse the national libido in its rawest, most barbaric form" really never gets old, Stevens -- who is herself seven months pregnant -- calls Heidi Klum's strut down the catwalk the "perverse highlight" of the show, arriving as it does only eight weeks after the birth of her son, Henry Guenther Ademola Dashtu Samuel. (Yes, that's one child.)
Stevens astutely points out that "the speed with which women can 'get their bodies back' after delivery has become one of the many arenas of gladiatorial competition among new mothers" whether they are Hollywood actresses or suburban soccer moms. But, she frets, Klum's stroll down the Victoria's Secret runway takes "the cult of postpartum fitness to new heights" because "she wasn't ... rocking a carefully cut Oscar gown on the red carpet, she was rocking an electrified thong."
Of course, the true winners of this "body-back" competition are those who make their weight loss seem effortless, no matter how bruised, battered, stitched and stretched their post-pregnancy bodies may be. For her remarks to USA Today that "she 'naturally' lost a pound a day for the first five weeks after the birth, turning to her trainer for a whirlwind exercise campaign only during the last three weeks before filming the show," Klum should probably be decorated with an Olympic gold.
Stevens points out that in light of Klum's "victory" over her pregnant body, the model and the organizers of the show might have played up the new-mom angle with "a sentimental background segment in which young Henry was paraded before the cameras by Klum and her husband, the British singer Seal." But only boobies -- not babies -- were available for the audience to ogle; as Stevens says, "there was nary a mention of the squalling 3-month-old result of Klum's world-class sex appeal."
What's it all mean? Stevens writes, "It's as if the female body were divided into two completely separate, compartmentalized functions: being sexy (or rather, providing the ready-made answer to the Victoria's Secret marketing slogan, "What is sexy?") and propagating the human species. Any cause-effect relationship between these functions was neatly severed on [the] show. Presumably, glimpsing Klum with her son even for a moment would have killed the audience's lightly pornographic buzz more quickly than watching her scrub Seal's toilet."
But does she scrub his toilet in an electrified thong?