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Mutiny at Bounty - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
Mutiny at Bounty
I tweeted about this last night but it's so rage-inducing that I think I might have to post about it too. Here's the text of the latest email from Bounty (these are weekly emails for "Your baby at n weeks", but after about the first 10 weeks they stopped being about baby's development and started being about why you need to start waxing your legs again... OK, so you can probably guess I'm not the target market for this stuff anyway, but here goes):

Eat, drink and be merry

This week, we're focussing on food.


We're talking about both you and your baby's tummies. So first, here are some superb tips on how you can get a yummy mummy tummy.

Your baby

We've got some great advice on how you can help your baby to eat sensibly and enjoy their food. But if your baby's refusing food, or eating less, the chances are that everything is absolutely fine and there's no need to be frustrated.

Your baby's first teeth are either here or well on the way. Which is perfect timing for their developing taste for lumpier food.

So we start with "Eat, drink and be merry" (yes, I know this is just a sub-editor's autocomplete tic from "Eat", but still: let's be happy about food), but immediately go on to "how you can get a yummy mummy tummy": that is, obsess about your figure. Bit of a contradiction here, maybe? OK, so they don't actually mention the d-word, but let's face it, if you tell people their figure is all wrong, they're likely to think about dieting.

Having tried to make mums feel bad about their figures, they then remind them that they're supposed to help their baby "eat sensibly" and "enjoy their food". Now, this may be a bit of a radical suggestion, but: maybe one way to help your baby eat sensibly and enjoy their food would be to eat sensibly yourself, enjoy your food yourself, and generally model sensible behaviour?

Now, in fairness to Bounty I should point out that while in my opinion they clearly imply dieting, they don't actually say anything about it: the "yummy mummy tummy" article is actually about muscle-toning exercises. So that's OK then, surely? I mean, doing your pelvic floor exercises is sensible, right? (At least, if you don't want to spend the rest of your life doing a little wee every time you cough, sneeze or laugh.) So here's the beginning of the article:

Exercise for new mums

Size zero A list mums may be all over the front pages, but in real life your tummy might not spring back to its pre-baby state easily.

However, the good news is you can get trim and toned without getting a personal trainer or going under the knife.

Fortunately, nature can be kind as well as miraculous, and your muscles will regain a lot of their tautness naturally, especially after your first baby and if you’re reasonably fit and a healthy weight. However, for the rest of us, a bit more effort may be required.

Targeted exercise is the only way to de-flab your abs without resorting to surgery (and better for you all round, not to mention a lot less painful and non-invasive).

There's a lot of subtle linguistic sleight of hand going on here, a sliding and eliding of subjects that I'm strugging to put my finger on. Let's see if I can pull it apart a bit.

So, we start off by invoking the "Size zero A list mums" and then pretending we're not talking about them at all; we're talking about "real life", where you can "get trim and toned without getting a personal trainer or going under the knife". These are things that the celeb mums might do, but because we've stopped talking about them by this time and started talking about "real life", they're presented as realistic options that "you" would have thought of already -- that is, options that you should have thought of already, because your body is All Wrong -- had Bounty not come along and told you the real solution.

Then we're told that "nature can be kind as well as miraculous, and your muscles will regain a lot of their tautness naturally" -- two references to nature, to make it clear that this is all nice stuff they're talking about -- "especially after your first baby and if you’re reasonably fit and a healthy weight. However, for the rest of us" -- because most of you aren't fit enough! And you're TOO FAT! -- "a bit more effort may be required." Just a bit more effort, that's all. What kind of lazy person wouldn't put in just a bit more effort (that's more than 'doing nothing because miraculous Mother Nature will sort it all out', I guess?) to look good?

"Targeted exercise is the only way to de-flab your abs without resorting to surgery (and better for you all round, not to mention a lot less painful and non-invasive)". Silly you for thinking about surgery! You were thinking about surgery, weren't you, because you're THAT UGLY. What? You hadn't even considered surgery? Oh dear. Well, don't worry, dear, you don't really need surgery. You just need to do "targeted exercise". That's not targeted at getting you healthy and active again, it's targeted at giving you a flat tummy. The sort of flat tummy that 17-year-old girls WHO HAVEN'T HAD BABIES have.

So it's a funny definition of "good news" they're using here: as far as I can work out the "good news" is that you need to be "trim and toned" (why?), you need to "de-flab your abs" (why?), but it's OK, you don't need to have surgery (surgery! for fuck's sake!) to get there. Well, hurrah! Break out the bunting!

Even worse, look at the comments on that article: people are going to Bounty for medical advice:

"Whens the best time to start doing sit ups after giving birth? I'm confused because my family and friends are telling me different things! One told me you can do sit ups more or less straight away and another told me not until six months as your stomach muscle don't recover from pregnancy till then. Any one got any tips? xx"

"how do i tone my belly after having an emergency c section...? Or atually when can i start toning after an emergency c section? I had my baby son 13 weeks ago. Please advise needed........ xx"

"Anyone got advice on how soon after the birth I can return to running and / or circuit training? I ran up to 12 weeks pregnant and did body pump and walked for up to an hour right up to the birth. I have had episiotomy and stiches which seem to be healing well. I am also breastfeeding."

It's frankly terrifying that people are trusting Bounty -- who exist solely to sell shitloads of plastic tat to mums by making them feel guilty, by making them feel that if they don't buy all the plastic tat then they JUST DON'T LOVE THEIR BABIES ENOUGH -- with questions like these, rather than asking e.g. the NHS. Ask your health visitor, ask your doctor; even ask your mum or your friends -- at least if they're wrong they'll probably be innocently wrong rather than trying to sell you dieting aids or exercise equipment.

You might well ask me "why did you sign up for these emails then, you silly moo?" Yes, you might well ask. I signed up with Bounty for the packs of freebies and the special offers, because I STUPIDLY FORGOT that free stuff which wastes your time and makes you angry is NOT ACTUALLY FREE. While we're on the subject of those freebie packs, let's remember that Bounty have somehow wangled it so that Important Government Information on how to claim your Child Benefit is stuffed in the pack of advertising and marketing samples that they give you when you're IN HOSPITAL, ie probably still woozy from being stuffed full of drugs and confused from being SHUNTED AROUND LIKE A PIECE OF MEAT, and therefore not in the best frame of mind to go through a bagful of rubbish and filter out the Important Government Information; but obviously it's as important for women to be aggressively marketed at by the makers of unsustainable disposable rubbish as it is for them to collect the benefits to which they're entitled. Yes.

Oh, the Bounty freeby pack also included a can of DIET COKE. I thought this was nothing do with mums/babies but now I realise OH WAIT they mean you can have caffeine again but YOU'RE FAT! GO ON A DIET EVEN THOUGH YOU JUST GAVE BIRTH 2 HOURS AGO!

If I'd seen this stuff before giving birth I'd have pushed that baby out in 10 minutes flat, with no drugs except RAGE.

Sorry about all the CAPITAL LETTERS. I blame coffee, lack of sleep, and Caitlin Moran.

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naath From: naath Date: January 25th, 2012 03:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear, that really is dreadful. Wretched people.

They could have had useful information there about infant nutrition and the safety of post-birth exercise. But no. Diet crap and body shaming, just what everyone needs (NOT. YUCK).
woodpijn From: woodpijn Date: January 25th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Grr, Bounty. They come round in the hospital when you've just given birth, and get you to sign up for their spam mailings, when you're still too woozy to tell that they're not official hospital staff with compulsory NHS forms.
julietk From: julietk Date: January 25th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Bounty thing generally makes me ABSOLUTELY STEAMING. I didn't sign up for the freebies, but only because A did, none of them were much cop, and they've been sending her piles of crap in the post ever since. (Otherwise I'd have been all 'oh hey free stuff' & likely filled things in without thinking about it.) Also I'd just gone through all the freebie magazines I got handed at my first midwife appt & was therefore in a really big strop about the whole thing.

In particular the child benefit info, yes. In the middle of a big pile of marketing is an excellent place to put that, yes! RAGE RAGE RAGE.

"help your baby to eat sensibly and enjoy their food" -- we should bear in mind here that 'eat sensibly' also often translates to 'control food in certain ways'. i.e. this is the thing that in moderately short order becomes 'worry about your child's weight'/'teach your child to worry about their weight'; and later 'YOU ARE TOO FAT & EAT ALL THE WRONG THINGS'.

In a *total* tangent on the exercise front, I have become confused of late about the suggestion I have seen (from vaguely-medical sources, although have not asked midwife/doctor & will endeavour to remember to do so) that one shouldn't start doing [certain sorts of exercise? never very well-specified] until after your abdominal muscles have gone back together post-birth. Is there an important difference between the separation *pre*-birth and the separation *post*-birth? Because neither midwife nor GP has suggested to me that I should stop doing anything in particular, despite the fact that my abdominal muscles separated a few weeks back. Which I only happen to know because I sat up (not 'a sit-up' or anything, just, y'know, sat up in bed) and went WOAH HOLY SHIT WHAT IS MY STOMACH DOING. Anyway obviously I am not asking you either, just meandering b/c am curious about the rationale and also it is reducing my Bounty-induced rage. (Maybe it's OK when they're separating *around* something viz enormo-baby-containing-womb?)
jvvw From: jvvw Date: January 26th, 2012 10:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I remember being told not to do sit-ups late in pregnancy but I don't think that was the midwife. It might have been the (excellent) instructor at the gym I went to back then who did a new routine for me when I became pregnant.
cjwatson From: cjwatson Date: January 25th, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
And even better, if you don't get the Bounty pack for whatever reason in hospital, there is then AFAWCT no way to claim child benefit. I mean, not that we desperately need it or anything, but still.
jinty From: jinty Date: January 25th, 2012 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Think you can get the form from the midwife or something? Oh wait, or from the magical internet. Didn't know that!
From: scat0324 Date: January 26th, 2012 09:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Our third was a home birth so we didn't get handed a bounty pack. Instead you're supposed to get it from Sainsbury's or a few other places, but of course that's not Sainsbury's Local (ie the branches I cycle pass every day) no, it has to be the big ones on the ring-road. Except they've never got them in stock, so I made multiple trips and then started phoning ahead before finally realising there is that form on the internet. Then I had to wrestle with the joy that that form is a fill it in online then print it out, you have to use the latest version of adobe's reader, no you can't save it (while you go and find out your NI number), piece of rubbish. About as rubbish as that last sentence!

From: scat0324 Date: January 26th, 2012 10:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Except I've just read http://www.bounty.com/packs/newborn-essentials-pack and realised that I wouldn't have got the right pack even if one of my trips to Sainsbury's had been successful - we should have had our "health care professional" obtain one for us. It's a scandal that this is the way the child benefit form is generally distributed - a sensible way would be for it to be handed out by the Registrar when you register the birth.
jinty From: jinty Date: January 26th, 2012 10:20 am (UTC) (Link)
a sensible way would be for it to be handed out by the Registrar when you register the birth
Absolutely. It is shocking that it is not handled in some official channel way. The Registrar might be a bit late for some people on occasion, as you can delay quite a while before officially registering your baby, but nevertheless it is an Official Government Thing as opposed to some private body that wants to sell you tat.
julietk From: julietk Date: January 26th, 2012 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
For my friend's home birth in Southampton the midwives brought the pack round at one of the follow-up checks. (Along with the red book which they hadn't had one of in the home-birth-box, for some reason.)

It's still crap, mind.

A better bet would be e.g. to include it with the red book (since all children are AIUI supposed to get one of those), or have a midwife dish it out at hospital/at home like they do the Mat B1 form.
jinty From: jinty Date: January 25th, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good rant! I was forewarned about the Bounty stuff when an LJ friend who'd had a home birth raged that she therefore hadn't got the child benefit form. I demanded it stiffly and combatatively in the hosp you betcha; I understand there is in fact a way to get the form otherwise but it's very easy to end up out of the loop and missing out - and you can't backdate your CB claim so it could end up costing you ££.
khalinche From: khalinche Date: January 25th, 2012 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

If I'd seen this stuff before giving birth I'd have pushed that baby out in 10 minutes flat, with no drugs except RAGE

This made me chuckle out loud. The rest of what you describe is hateful.
shermarama From: shermarama Date: January 25th, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I might have cackled for some time at your penultimate line. Although I had to follow the link to work out what Bounty was; my first associations for that word are coconut and kitchen roll. It sounds like these are much better things to think of than what you mean here.
katstevens From: katstevens Date: January 25th, 2012 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Same here!
juggzy From: juggzy Date: January 25th, 2012 10:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I blame coffee, lack of sleep, and Caitlin Moran

LOLZ! You're a one-off original thinker, though, just like Caitlin Moran, so you're allowed**.

**Yes, I have taken it upon myself to be the gatekeeper of those who are allowed or otherwise to use CAPITAL LETTERS.
jvvw From: jvvw Date: January 26th, 2012 10:46 am (UTC) (Link)
The child benefit form being in the bounty pack is immensely annoying, as were their photographers at the hospital and their packs/emails generally.

Interestingly the first bounty pack I had at my booking appointment actually had some useful local stuff in it - I remember that's how I found out about the antenatal yoga classes that I went to.
helenbr From: helenbr Date: January 27th, 2012 05:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
It is scary how much money the commercial world think they can make from babies as demonstrated by how many 'free samples' / 'freebies in exchange for your personal details' one is deluged with right from the very first midwife appointment. The thing that bugs me is how much of it is advertising done up as information, which is even more dangerous now they've stopped giving out hard copies of the NHS Pregnancy and Birth to Five books. Bounty etc really will seem like the place to take questions now.

I accepted my Bounty pack in hospital but would have unthinkingly handed over my personal details in exchange to someone who seemed relatively official "so that we know you've got your pack", especially after having told endless NHS professionals my name and date of birth already. Luckily my more on the ball husband spotted that ploy and politely declined, so we got our child benefit form without signing up to anything.
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