I guess this is the end of the world. Right? We are there. Because the rage about Kate Upton’s appearance in a lingerie fashion show on a blog called SkinnyGossip (I will refrain from comparisions in said blog’s title, design and colour scheme to another blog we know) is possibly the craziest thing I’ve seen this year. So the apocalypse must be coming.
It’s 2012 and we’re media literate. You know that you can find fat-hatred anywhere you choose to look online. That the “banishing” of pro-ana blogs did exactly zero. So it shouldn’t be such a surprise that this blog exists, that people frequent it, or that there’s no immunity for anyone.
It’s the ANGER that gets me here. How DARE this woman be visible and famous looking like that (“that” = sexy and luscious and kick-ass)? Her crime isn’t that she looks better than most of us ever will – her crime is that she’s famous and notable and has opportunities and roles and attention that the blogs and the commenters will never have. How dare she?
How dare she like herself? How dare she make money on herself? How dare she find a way to fit her ever-so-slightly nontraditional by model/actress standards body into the famous people’s lexicon? That’s NOT HOW IT WORKS. You have to be skinny to the point of death to be famous or fashionable and if you’re not you have to hate yourself and cry forever and everyone knows that and that’s why I’m not fashiony or famous because I’m not perfect like fill-in-the-borderline-anorexic-of-your-choice so why does she get to be? It’s not fairrrrrr. It’s meaaaaaannnn. I’ve accepted the rules of hating myself so why doesn’t she know she has to hate herself?
It is, of course, worse because she’s not famous for something else. She’s not a comedian or a singer where people can say “well, for thatkind of a job, I guess the body is OK”. She’s famous for being beautiful. She is fudging the rules of the game that everyone internalized the summer they were 11, and she is winning at it. She gets to be happy with her body, and that is just unfair. That bitch.
So if you were wondering how we were doing, on getting a broader range of bodies accepted in the mainstream media – that’s how. Jesus.
Interesting take; problematic in a few ways, but astute in the commentary.
It is horrifying how many thinspiration and fitspiration photos have the women’s faces obscured, or everything from the neck above cropped out. So much objectification, self-objectification, and internalization of misogynistic constructs…
I just realized that on Facebook, you can now post about “New Eating Habits” or “Weight Loss,” with photographic evidence, to boot. What the hell? Don’t enough people already have disordered eating or eating disorders???
First, there was thinspiration, and now it’s been rebranded as fitspiration. Fitspiration would imply inspiration from fitness, but a quick search on Tumblr quickly knocks that idea down: “fitness” blogs don’t post stats of the cholesterol level/mile time/resting heart rate sort or images of amazing physical feats, but rather, they post stats of the weight lost/calories eaten sort and images of thinness.
I get it. I know how hard it can be the resist what the magazines tell us. “If you eat right and exercise, you can be thin because you’ll be fit!” their covers scream every month. Once upon a time, I believed them, and I borderlined on an eating disorder as I strove to look “fit” and thin. Being thin is touted as the solution to everything: to your low self-esteem, to why guys don’t find you attractive, to all your problems. Being thin will make you happy. The message is simple and powerful, yet it couldn’t be further from the truth. Being thin has nothing to do with how happy you are. I kept telling myself that once I hit my goal weight, I would magically be happy and all the guys would find me attractive and my problems would be better because the implication was that my worth was derived from my looks. But the truth was that I had never been more miserable as I ate less and less and exercised more and more.
Unfortunately, so few people realize this. Both men and women are been seduced by this crock of bullshit.
For women, not only do we tear our own bodies apart, but we tear down the bodies of other women. “Oh, she’s not fit because she doesn’t have visible muscle tone! She’s not fit because she’s not thin! She doesn’t have a good body because (insert some bullshit reason)!” And of course, there is the well-meaning “Real women have curves” retort. No, real women have bodies. Real women have bodies that reflect their experiences, their struggles, their lives. Real women have unique bodies that reflect their unique stories. Let’s respect that.
For men, the unrealistic expectation of what women’s bodies are like has emerged from all of the media representation of women’s bodies. Of all the men who have seen me naked, only two have not said some variation of “You’d be hotter if you lost some weight” to me. Both men who did not say such bullshit to me were surprised when I was more than willing to have sex with the lights on and on top of the covers; when I asked why they were shocked, they gave me the same response: All of my past girlfriends hid their bodies. All of my past girlfriends insisted that the lights be off and that we be under the covers so I wouldn’t see their bodies. All of my past girlfriends were ashamed of the way they looked.
Fit is not thin. Thin is not happiness. Happiness can only come from a place of self-realization. Although fitness (but not thinness) helps with that, it is not the answer. And above all, a woman’s worth is not derived from her looks.
It is the normalization of pathology: if you’re not constantly beating yourself up about your weight, if you’re not constantly thinking about or trying to diet, then you are somehow not a woman in today’s society. If you do not have an eating disorder or disordered eating, you are not a typical woman. Hating your body (and others’ bodies) and not recognizing its amazing qualities is part of the experience of growing up. Focusing all of your energies on how you look and not on your emotional and intellectual development is what “real” women do and those who don’t aren’t “real” women.
We see our bodies and the bodies of other women as objects, and for that matter, public objects. It is our “right” to express our opinions, no matter how hurtful, on women’s bodies. That is fucked up.