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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Widespread bodyhate

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Author Topic: Widespread bodyhate
Cian
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It hits me everyday, everywhere I go, anyone I talk to, worst so in Facebook.
"Thick girls are better, real women have curves, when did we go from this (Marilyn Monroe) to this (that poor runway model who passed away because of anorexia)." etc etc. It is simply everywhere.

I know that we say that media controls how women look but I'm seeing a lot of hateful comments from the surrounding society which, I'm sure, are mostly well meaning and trying to battle against the fashion and beauty industries. But to put one down in order to elevate the other in my opinion is no sound way to defend any bodytype. (Most often heard: skinny girls are awful in bed/heartless/untrustworthy)

I also know that women's bodies have been under close scrutiny for so many years but seriously, what is with all this hate? Why do we try to defend one type of a body over another, why can't we say that we think the society and industry determining beauty is nonsense and that everyone should realize that there is beauty in their body? That we would say "Women are great!" rather than give it a much narrower defining word like "thick, thin, big, small" what have you?

Honestly, I am a person predisposed with a small, skinny body. I didn't make myself like this, I am like this, and even if I made myself like this how much different is that from dying my hair purple? Isn't that my choice? I don't think my body is any better than that of my friends who range from smaller to bigger than me. I don't think their bodies are better than mine.

I for one am tired that we are getting ordered around to lose weight, to be blonde, to be redheaded, to gain weight, to dress right, to not be slutty, to be modest, to be hot, to be meek, to be assertive, to be strong and weak at the same time. No one can ever possibly fill the requirements because by and large they contradict each other. I want to see an end to all kinds of body hate and size bias, but very few people seem to agree with me!

Posts: 239 | From: Europe | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
coralee
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Cian, I completely agree. The first thing I thought of when I read your post was the Dove soap commercials, the ones that supposedly were to help girls' and women's body image by showing female models who were larger than the typical model. I actually found these ads far from inspiring to me. For example, all the women they showed clearly looked quite femme (long hairstyles, makeup, etc.). No disabled women, no women of less than average weight (which as you said, is just the way some women's bodies are, and doesn't make them any more or less beautiful than women with larger bodies). Statements like "Real women are..." or "Real women should be..." are so horrible. Not only do they try to force a given image on every woman but they also say that women who do not fit this mold are not "real", like they don't even exist, or aren't women!
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Saffron Raymie
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Ugh. Those Dove adverts. I found them insulting; as if all 'real' women are just desperate to 'feel' beautiful. What about the women who just don't value looks outside of a sexual context - or at all? Are they not 'real' women?

Great topic, Cian!

[ 01-22-2012, 04:12 PM: Message edited by: Seashie Ray ]

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Cian
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It could be we had Dove ads in Finland, but I was fairly pleased with the women in them (old, young, skinny, thick, short, dark, light and tall) although it still left out several categories. Alas, it is advertising and out of all the things I've seen, by far the least offensive. (I'm pretty sure their campaigns differ a little from country to country.)

But I agree with the sentiment that statements like "Real women are/should be..." are inevitably rather harmful. While I'm all for body type diversity support, I think there should be a different approach. In fact I already have some ideas, too bad I haven't media-talented friends who would help me launch a body-positive ad campaign that doesn't advocate self hate or hate of others, or try to sell you a product. [Razz]

In case you haven't seen the documentary Killing us Softly 4, it is worth a gander. It deals with women and advertising and is a worthwhile documentary for anyone concerned with modern day advertising and the ill effects it's having on society.

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Violet1234
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I also recommend Killing Us Softly, it's a great film that really covers this issue. We watched it in my freshman English class, and it was really interesting to hear all the other students responses when we discussed it.
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Heather
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Cian, this might also be a really great read for you: http://www.hanneblank.com/blog/2011/06/23/real-women/

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cian
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Heather, thank you so very much. I'm going to go on my one-woman campaign and link and post this all over my social medias. That blog is everything I ever wanted to say about the current trend of body-shaming.
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Heather
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Hanne is always pretty darn amazing, and I agree, this piece really does say it all. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Michelle Ravel
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I'm so thrilled to have read this because I was a skinny teenager who always felt crushed inside when people said that REAL women had curves. Wasn't I real, too?

People really have to watch their language. I understand that the media doesn't present a variety of women's bodies as normal, and that can be a concern, but let's not go jumping down the throats of skinny, flat-chested girls just to balance it out.

"There is no wrong way to have a body."

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Sulma
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I really hate the "Real women have curves!" argument. It's pretty much saying that women that don't fit in that category (including trans women) aren't "real women."

No, a real woman is someone that is living and breathing and has human consciousness. A real woman is short, tall, skinny, fat, fit, flabby, white, black, tan, yellow, red, brown, able-bodied, disabled, trans, masculine, feminine, etc. A real woman is someone who identifies as a woman.There isn't a certain way to have a body. Society makes us think there is, but in reality, there isn't.

The diet industry is a major component in this. Every single day you see products and programs that aim towards women with the message of, "LOSE WEIGHT OR YOU WILL LOSE YOUR WORTH AS A PERSON!" Because of those messages, many women fall for the trap and end up going on very unhealthy diets. Almost all of them will gain the weight they lost back. And when they do, they feel like failures and worthless.

Worth as a human being is not related to weight at all. Unfortunately in our capitalistic society, a woman's body is seen as her "project," thus it's exploited to create corporate gains and to fatten the wallets of the CEOs. It's disgusting.

[ 01-31-2012, 08:54 PM: Message edited by: Sulma ]

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BustaEve
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I'm currently overweight/fat, but I too find "real women have curves" to be slightly offensive. Since as Sulma states a woman is someone who identifies as being a woman, and just because you don't have hips or large breasts doesn't mean you're not a woman.
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