Remember school dress codes? Did they ever give you a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach as a teenager, or did they stay comfortably off your radar? Peggy Orenstein’s opinion piece on the subject in The New York Times brings up some of the more troubling questions about what the real purpose of those rules is –do they protect kids or just perpetuate body shame?
Orenstein insists that:
Telling girls to “cover up” just as puberty hits teaches them that their bodies are inappropriate, dangerous, violable, subject to constant scrutiny and judgment, including by the adults they trust. Nor does it help them understand the culture’s role in their wardrobe choices.
Keep reading »
You might be sick to death of me writing about yoga. If you are, my apologies. But there’s one last thing I have to cover before I go back to resting in child’s pose. The other day I saw a friend’s Facebook status and it disheartened me so much that I could not remain silent. It said:
“This dude just told me how much he is into yoga and how he is starting to teach and that I should start practicing so I can ‘lose some weight.’”
Keep reading »
I’m feeling outraged on behalf of California’s Tiffany Austin. After recovering from injuries she suffered in a car accident, Austin joined Planet Fitness, whose ads boast of their no “gymtimidation” vibe, because she was excited to get back in shape. Fifteen minutes into her inaugural workout, Austin claims a manager approached her and said, “Excuse me we’ve had some complaints you’re intimidating people with your toned body. So can you put on a shirt?”
Austin agreed to wear a shirt over her midriff-baring tank-top because it “violated dress code.” While the manager was getting a shirt for her to put over her body, yet another staff member approached her to scold her. That’s when she decided to ask for a refund and get the fuck out of there. Keep reading »
Plus size model Robyn Lawley penned a wonderful post on The Daily Beast about the dangers of thigh gaps and “thinspiration.” What I especially liked about her post was that she avoided body shaming of any kind while making valid points about how the media, “thinspo,” and thigh gaps can erode the self-esteem and body image of women.
Robyn writes about how disturbing the so-called inspiration has become, “Everywhere online, users are posting aspirational pictures of thigh gaps, used as inspiration for weight loss and dieting. ‘I want the thigh gap. Right now, I could start a fire b/t my thighs,’ one user laments on Pinterest. ’No goal was ever achieved without thigh gap.’”
Remember Robyn is a successful plus size model who was featured in H&M‘s swimwear campaign. Robyn is celebrated for the body she has, she’s paid to have the body that she has, which is bigger and curvier than standard models, yet that doesn’t mean the world is kind to her. Read more on College Candy…
Just when you thought humanity wasn’t headed down the shitter after all, novelty store It’Sugar thought it would be a fun idea to sell baby clothes with creepy sexual statements emblazoned on the front of them. Phrases like “hung like a preschooler”, “I’m proof my mommy puts out,” and “does this diaper make my butt look big?” stand out, amongst others. Gross. Young people are bombarded with the pressure to be “sexy” before their age even hits double digits these days, but now sexual jokes are starting before the kid can even walk? Not cool. These clothes aren’t just sexual, they’re also flat-out body shaming. Do we really need to be scrutinizing the size of a baby’s butt? I’m pretty positive the company meant for these clothes to be taken as a joke, but that’s how ideology takes root: it starts out as something seemingly innocuous that’s not to be taken seriously, but then all of a sudden it’s totally ingrained into a person’s thoughts and a five-year-old is crying over whether her butt looks big because she’s been wearing clothes with phrases like this on them since before she could talk. Can’t kids just be kids for half a second without having to think about their bodies? If this is a sign of the times, I’m not too excited for whatever nasty ideas people are going to come up with next. [Change.org]
“I think it’s about time people stopped judging women on their appearance and more on their intellect. Like you can appreciate my style without having to appreciate my weight. It’s not actually mutually inclusive. I just get frustrated because, just because I exist in this shape, doesn’t mean that I’m like advocating it and being like, ‘I look great.’ How do you know I’m not looking in the mirror and going ‘I wish I could gain ten pounds?’ Which is actually quite often the case. But if you say that you sound like you’re bragging that you’re naturally thin, and you’re not allowed to do that because even though it’s not the ideal weight, it kind of is as well. So it’s really fucked up. And how people that are bigger can be on the front covers of magazines being like ‘I’m really happy with my shape.’ But if I was to do that, I’d be compeltely criticized and ridiculed. But why can’t I be happy with how I look? … I’m just a bit sick of it. I just think that whole culture of hatred, and also feeling like it’s your right to judge people when you don’t know them is really fucked up.”
– This is Alexa Chung talking to Fashionista about the controversy that erupted awhile back when she posted a picture of herself looking quite thin on Instagram. Chung was derided by commenters on the site for being “thinspiration” for women with eating disorders. The whole interview is quite good and I recommend you read the entire thing. She says some very smart things about how naturally thin and skinny women are not immune to body scrutiny and, while it doesn’t compare equally to larger-sized women, it’s still body-policing. As a naturally skinny person, Chung is on the receiving end of insinuations and comments that she must have an eating disorder. Larger women can’t win and skinnier women can’t win, either. Alexa is right: it’s time we stopped judging all women on their appearance. [Fashionista]
Fat-shaming. Maybe it’s happened to you, or maybe you’ve perpetrated it against someone else. Fat-shaming is making people feel uncomfortable, wrong or bad for being overweight or obese. Some fat-shamers will tell you that they’re doing it as a means of encouraging the overweight person to lose weight, but most, oh, sane people will argue that fat-shaming does little in the way of motivation, and actually harms.
Keep reading »
I’ve never watched “Tosh.O,” the Comedy Central show in which Daniel Tosh offers “Soup”-style commentary on the week’s most entertaining viral videos. But I’m even less interested in watching after seeing a clip of a new segment Tosh introduced called “lightly touching women’s stomachs while they’re sitting down.” Tosh encouraged viewers to film these purposefully non-consensual gropings and post them to YouTube. “Make sure she’s aware that you are in fact feeling a roll,” Tosh explained, just incase it wasn’t abundantly clear that the purpose of this gag was to shame the woman being groped. Tosh aired a couple of his own videos as examples and, sure enough, his audience — which is mostly male — followed suit, groping, filming and uploading their own videos to YouTube. All of the videos submitted were from men, surprise, surprise.
This whole thing has gotten Tosh quite a bit of flack from the blogosphere for being, well, sexist, offensive, body-shaming, cruel, and revolting, but he’s yet to respond. Speaking of responses, any dude who tries to touch my stomach without my permission — and film it for a crappy douche like Tosh to jerk off to — is going to get a kick to the nuts. [Huffington Post]
“I don’t even feel like it was a mistake anymore. I don’t really believe in the concept of mistakes. Now I’m very sensitive to any pictures taken of myself at photoshoots and whatever because the internet has this very weird —especially people in politics — this very weird reaction to my body, because I’m not super skinny. I have large breasts. I know! They’re real, I can’t do anything about it and the internet just has this really weird reaction to my body … I’ve seen a therapist about it, if that means anything. There’s like this obsession (with my body). I think people don’t understand why I haven’t lost a bunch of weight right now, because [sarcastic] ‘all women in the media should lose a bunch of weight if they want to go on television to talk about anything.’”
– Meghan McCain discusses BoobGate (aka that time she tweeted a very boobalicious photo, apparently by accident) and how much negative attention that’s been heaped upon her body as she’s become a conservative pundit. Now, I’ve always thought Meghan McCain was nepotistic and kind of annoying. But in the past few years, I’ve admired the way that she’s taken every incident where a douchebag has tried to body-shame her or slut-shame her and fought back. Unfortunately, I’m not the least bit surprised that bullying from Glenn Beck would send a girl into therapy! [YouTube via Nerve]