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.
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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.’”
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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]