Recently I was talking to a friend about a mutual acquaintance, whom I noticed had a lot of photos on her Facebook of the bikini-modelling/revealing type. The acquaintance also worked at a nightclub wearing skimpy lingerie, which led me to ask whether she was a stripper (she wasn’t). Then I felt immediately ashamed of myself for judging this woman via her Facebook photos, employment and body confidence – so I thought I would write about this. I’m sure you have all heard me talk about fat-shaming before, but today I want to also address the reverse problem – fit shaming. I think that I see just as much fit-shaming as I do fat-shaming online, and I want to know why people feel that it’s acceptable to be judgmental at all about anyone’s body, or how they choose to present it. A lot of people mindlessly engage in body-shaming, thinking that they deserve brownie points for posting pictures of Kate Moss next to Marilyn Monroe accompanied by some lame caption reading “Since when did this (Moss)… become hotter than this (Monroe)?”. People that get excited about these kinds of images think that they are promoting body acceptance and helping to tip the balance in the favour of “normal” sized women (they’re not, they are just supporting yet another form of bigotry).
Many people also engage in bodysnarking towards women that post photos of their bodies on Facebook or dress to show off their bodies. Many of these women have worked really hard to attain or maintain their physique, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to show it off. Why be modest about an achievement? A high-school friend of mine recently worked very hard and competed in her first bodybuilding competition, and afterwards told her Facebook friends not to worry – that she would now stop posting body pics. It was really pleasing to see the outpouring of comments telling her that she should be very proud and should continue posting pics as testament to her hard work. Sadly, this is rare. So many times in the past I’ve heard women bitching about other women’s pictures or outfits (including me) and it really, fully, 100% needs to stop.
If you find yourself criticising someone’s choice of outfit or body-pride photo, it’s a good idea to question where your words are coming from. Why is it a problem for you if someone else is very confident in their skin, or proud to show off their physique after hard work? Similarly, why is it such a problem if someone shows off a body that society doesn’t deem as pride-worthy? Why do we make such a big deal out of women’s bodies in the first place? Sometimes it seems to me like you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. I know a woman that was larger and copped negative attitudes from many people about her body and clothes, yet when she lost weight, she still copped negativity and hurtful remarks about her body and clothes – essentially she went from being fat-shamed to being fit-shamed. It was very hard for her because the self-confidence and pride she felt from working hard to attain the figure she wanted were diminished by a group of nasty women that were just projecting their own body-hate. She was finally where she wanted to be physically but the bullying had not ceased, it had just gone from cruel taunting to jealous taunting. In fact, she noticed that the nastiness was markedly worse when she had lost weight, presumably because the other women were threatened by her success.
I’m also sick to death of all the bullshit about who can wear which clothes. Look. Everyone can wear everything. There is no “size limit” for skinny jeans, women with flat chests or narrow hips can wear as much rockabilly shit as they want, fat women can wear tight clothes and petite women can wear peplum tops. Seriously. Stop making stupid Facebook status updates bitching about other women wearing certain things that you deem inappropriate for their size. CUT THAT SHIT OUT. It makes you look pathetic and insecure. Fuck flattering – nobody has to dress according to a set of rules to make themselves look a certain way. If I want to wear a tight PVC Spiderman suit, I will – and fuck your snide remarks. Shut the fuck up and get a life, all of you.
At the end of the day, if you are proud of your body then you shouldn’t have to wear other people’s insecurities or jealousy. Wear the most revealing shit that you want and post the most self-indulgent pics ever – it doesn’t matter whether you are a size 6 or a size 36, nobody should ever make you feel bad about your body. If you’re one of the people that find yourself casually doing some body-shaming (and that still sometimes includes me, I still have to mentally check my judgements and work through them) then the best place to start changing this is by speaking up when you see or hear any body-shaming going down. When people post shitty memes relating to someone’s body or outfit, maybe comment on why it’s wrong, or tell the poster privately that it isn’t cool. Most people aren’t aware that it is offensive, they are just re-posting a picture that someone else posted. They often aren’t bad people who are trying to be nasty, either – the reason that this is such an underground battle is because bodyshaming is still so common and socially acceptable. It often manages to fly under the radar as a normal thing, when it just shouldn’t be allowed to. It’s important that people start becoming aware that it isn’t cool, and perhaps one day all of this shit will stop, and women will be able to live their lives free from the constant scrutiny.
Love, Chelle xoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxo