My dear readers! You know that I’m not one to hold back on calling out men for their bullshit but, fellow women, we must acknowledge our part of the problem. In many ways we are worse, at least when it comes to criticizing other women’s bodies (and our own). Yes, many men are utterly delusional, hitting on girls so far out of their league it’s more obvious than the plot (“twist”) of Shutter Island that nothing is going to happen, and it leaves you wondering just how much of an effect TV has on people’s sense of reality (I’m talking to you “According To Jim”). However, what I rarely see men do is comment on the bodies of famous women online with criticism if she looks good. An example (names and photos have been badly covered):
As you can see, we have two lovely top comments. Then someone offers up the insightful “Something is off about this pictire”. Stop killing me with specificness. Then comes the well-meaning, but still luke warm yellow comment. While the message is true (let’s commend her life choices instead of tearing her apart), the comment about “plastic women” bothers me. If women want to be “fake” from top to bottom, that’s their choice and there’s no reason it should bother you, me, or anyone else. What does it have to do with you? Besides, no one in Hollywood is completely natural – not even Beyoncé.
Now to the last two red comments. The first one informs us that she preferred “old, thicke Beyoncé” and that she “looks lost” and is pretending to be… what exactly? There’s a word missing, but I’ll go out on a limb here and say “happy” is what she meant to say, considering the tabloid talks of divorce etc. Anyway, I don’t know what inside scoop she has, but to me this just looks like a photo of Beyoncé and it really doesn’t communicate anything except “Hi there, wazzap, I’m a photo of Beyoncé here to remind you that you don’t, have never and never will look this fierce”, and while you may have preferred the “thicker” Beyoncé, the one and only person who’s opinion counts obviously doesn’t: the man who owns her, her husband Jay-Z. OK, bad joke. Beyoncé is the only one whose opinion matters when it comes to her own weight and appearance in general. I mean, unless you’re so fat or skinny you’re having serious health issues and your doctor is all “Bitch, cut down/increase those calories or you’ll be deader than Eddie Murphy’s career” (which is the kind of dead not even Jesus would be able to come back from). But aside from the whole “die from bad weight” factor, it’s your own opinion about yourself that matters.
The final commentator – whilst claiming love for the picture and Beyoncé – can’t quite manage to keep weight related criticism to herself. Why is that an issue? Two reasons:
1. Beyoncé looks fine in this photo. She could be heavier and skinnier and still be healthy, happy, and just FINE, but this is where she is at, and she seems happy (I mean, unless you ask the second to last commentator with the inside scoop on Beyoncé’s pretend happiness).
“WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME” is indeed a valid question. What do we want from celebrities? Each other? Ourselves? When will we realize that companies are making extreme amounts of money off our self hatred, and even more importantly when will we realize that we, women, are responsible for probably the greatest amount of body shaming that’s happening online and in real life. “Men want us to be this, men want us to be that, we have to look a certain way because men!”. It’s simply not true in most cases! In true Cah Cah fashion, let me demonstrate my point in a very approachable way.
Obviously there are women who think these women are hot, as well as men who say what these women say, but in general I find that the criticism and body shaming is much more female driven and that men look perplexed half the time when insecure women feel the need to point out any miniscule flaw they find in others. To combat this, we’d do well to remember a few things:
1. We are more than our bodies.
2. Other women are more than their bodies.
3. There are attributes much more rewarding and admirable than attractiveness.
4. Perfection doesn’t exist and beauty is subjective.
5. The Oprah Show started out as a trash talk show, like Ricki Lake and Jerry Springer.
The main example I used was Beyoncé because I happened to stumble upon that photo of her and read the comments, but body shaming is in no way limited to her. Surf the web, listen to girls talk, you’ll encounter this everywhere. However you look, it’s never good enough, so you might as well stop trying to make anyone but yourself happy. Even if you did ascend to some level of physical perfection, remember these words:
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” – Dita Von Teese
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