Dove hired a forensic artist to draw how women see themselves versus how others see them - the results are moving.
I had a strange, very strong reaction to this, because if it were left up to me, who knows how I would describe myself. Real tears. This was a powerful reminder coming from, for me, an unexpected source.
All of the feels.
I love this spot. I really do. Sometimes, I enjoy the way Dove frames these issues, and I can appreciate it.
But in the back of my mind, I am always thinking about the hypocrisy of embracing the notion of “real women” while leaving out a massive part of the population - as if they are any less real.
Dove says they are committed to building positive self esteem and inspiring ALL WOMEN and girls - but from what I can tell, that only applies so long as you’re not over a size 18. Deathfatties be damned.
Also, the same company owns Axe, which uses some of the grossest, most objectifying images of women around at the moment. Basically, I like the idea of the “Real Beauty” campaign, but am deeply deeply skeptical of Dove’s motives, and critical of their execution, which as Haley said, is still exclusive of a lot of people even though they claim to be body positive and to represent all women.
Also important: Unilever (which owns Dove) makes lots and lots of money selling skin-lightening products, especially in India.
You can’t say “everyone is beautiful” to mostly white women in America*, and then go “you’ll be more beautiful if your skin is lighter” to WOC in India. I mean, you can, but it’s disgusting.
(I say mostly white women because most of the women in that ad are white)
UGH terrible company is terrible! Thanks for the info, this is important to know and be vigilant for companies that co-opt body positivity and neuter it for their own financial gain.
I’m sick of how every time there’s an article about fat shaming and body acceptance, people whine about how skinny bodies shouldn’t be maligned. I agree that no-one should be made to feel bad about their body. That’s not what I want in any way. But we must admit that the vast majority of the bodies we see glorified in our culture are extremely thin, far thinner than the average. That particular body type is held up as the ideal and is extremely well-represented in the media. So from now on every time I hear about how movements pushing acceptance of bodies that deviate from the ultra-thin norm are unfair, I’m going to assume you also want a White History Month and a Straight Pride Parade.
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Hi. These are some pictures of my butt that I’ve posted on my blog. I just wanted to clear some stuff up about them. I have stopped posting them in the past because I was dating someone who 1) didn’t want other people seeing my butt and 2) was embarrassed that I would post them.
Here’s the most basic way I can say what I’m thinking.
Here’s what these pictures DON’T mean:
- I want to have sex with you.
- I want your attention.
- I want sexual attention.
- I have issues with self esteem.
- I have no self-respect.
- I have “daddy issues”.
- I will have sex with you no matter who you are.
- I am unintelligent and vapid.
Here’s what these pictures DO mean:
- The human body is beautiful.
- I have a butt.
- It’s a good butt.
- I’m proud of it.
- Here’s a picture of it.
- That’s it.
- Nothing else.
- Just a butt.
Here’s what these pictures say about me:
Here’s what pisses me off:
- People who think that showing your body equates to a lack of self-respect or says something about your sexual activity.
- People who think that this justifies receiving fucked up and creepy anonymous messages of harassment.
- People who think that seeing a picture of my butt says anything about my personality, my mind, my soul, etc.
- People who say they back up feminism and body positiveness, but if their girlfriend, or a girl they were interested in, posted a picture of their body on the internet they would suddenly “lose respect” for them.
- People who think naked bodies = sex.
- People who say things like “Do you think you’ll ever get a boyfriend if you’re posting those pictures?”, “I thought you weren’t posting those pictures anymore, haha.”, or “Why would someone date you when they can just look at your blog for those pictures?”
- People who say those things and then ask me to send them pictures of my body. Fuck you.
Here’s what (I think) you should do:
- Stop leaving hateful anonymous messages.
- Stop using words like “slut” and “whore”.
- Stop having double standards.
- Stop assuming things about people.
- Stop being hateful.
- Be kind, be gentle, be respectful.
- Keep scrolling down your dashboard.
- Keep your shitty thoughts to yourself.
- Love yourself.
That’s basically all I wanted to say for now, I’m sure I’ll end up thinking of more things but this has been a massive post about being body positive and loving the way you look and not letting shitty people get you down.
PLEASE AND THANK
We get a lot of feedback about NSFW posts on RBI and I feel like we have reiterated this in several different ways countless times. But this good woman has pretty simply laid it out. We are not here to sexualize and fetishize bodies. We are here to be proud of them.
Had to reblog this in its entirety. If I could pick one thing on Tumblr in particular to follow to Hell and back, it would be body positivity communities, and I really enjoy this post.
The one thing I believe is lacking here is intersectionality, even though it’s touched on lightly. No body is just a fat body. If a body is seen as “just” a fat body, most likely that body is also white and cisgender, Those traits normally end up being unmarked, which shouldn’t be so—that privilege still has to be recognized. Fat bodies are also disabled bodies, bodies of people of color, etc. Because of intersectionality, any group with a specific goal, no matter how singular, is always inherently a diverse coalition. Fat Acceptance does or should include disability, race, sexuality, gender, age, gender expression, etc, and should address the marginalization of those bodies to the extent that it intersects with the FA movement’s ends.
It’s difficult for me to believe that any particular movement can focus on one specific topic. From my own experience, I may be particularly concerned with queer bodies and trans* bodies as an advocate for Queer Rights, but because of intersectionality, I also have to be an advocate for the rights of fat bodies, disabled bodies, and on. Where those identities intersect, all those rights are queer rights, and queer rights are the rights of those diverse communities.
Bringing it back, I don’t want to just be “Body Positive” in the sense of an empowering concept, I would want to find ways to seek intersectional Body Positive-social change. Most likely in addition to, rather than replacing, Fat Acceptance. What this particular Body-Positive social change movement is or should be called, I have no idea.
These reflections are probably ignorant of some basic concept that I’m not even noticing, most likely because of my own privilege. (I am a cisgender white male of a relatively more social acceptable size, after all, so I experience oppression of my body on a vastly smaller scale than many others.) But, I can’t learn if I’m not told I’m wrong, so I’ll rant on and see what happens. I’m just starting to wade into activist spaces. Personal growth always has introspection, reflection, and call outs at some point, right?
I think you totally right about the necessity of intersectionality within ANY effort to advance identity politics, whether it is FA or feminism or queer rights etc. Of course, many if not most people involved in FA suffer from more discrimination than just fatphobia, and the other ways they are marginalized often enhance and intersect with their fatness. A queer fatty or a PoC fatty or a trans* fatty are oppressed not only on the basis of their size in addition to homophobia/racism/transphobia, but often they oppression they face as a fat person is enhanced by homophobia/racism/transphobia. FA cannot be an effective or honest movement if the people within it don’t recognize intersectionality and constantly check they ways in which they are privileged even while fighting to end the fat discrimination they suffer from.
I think the problem with a really broad movement, one that seeks to change any and all kinds of body hate and address the marginalization of all kinds of bodies on the basis of race and gender identity and sexuality and disability and class and age and on and on and on is that it then becomes incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to for effective activists groups to form and prioritize and set concrete, material agendas. In this hypothetical all-inclusive coalition, what will they tackle first, racism, sexism, homophobia, cissexism, disability? How will they distribute their limited resources in the fight against body hate? Even attempting to make these decisions will marginalize a TON of people, and by addressing all problems at once in one group, I think it is likely one would get less accomplished.
Of course, activists can do more than one thing at a time. It is totally possible to be an advocate for FA and also for disability rights. Or to do both feminist activist work and anti-racist activist work. And of course, each and every one of these movements must always remain aware of intersectionality, and these movements must, almost by definition, support and aide one another in there various fights against different kinds of oppression, because all of these kinds of oppression are overlapping and intersecting. BUT, speaking purely on practical, pragmatic terms, I think activists movement that want to be materially effective must focus their efforts on particular kinds of oppression WITHOUT forgetting the intersectionality of all oppression. I just have the feeling that one group trying to fight everything at once is bound to fail, even though their intentions and methods were completely inclusive. That’s the main point I was trying to make.
Body positivity is about more than just fat. That is why I said in my previous discussion with Kendall that body positivity was for “all people …fat and/or otherwise marginalized people.” This term is probably too vague, but I think it includes disability, race, sexuality, gender, age, gender expression etc. I also don’t think saying FA is just as important/more political erases anybody’s experience with body positivity, or the importance of body positivity.
To the best of my understanding (which is always limited, and maybe my understanding of the term is not the same as yours, Kendall, in which case please correct me), body positivity is about encouraging everyone to love their bodies because all bodies have inherent value. This is something I completely endorse, and I think it is VITAL to all sorts of identity politics, including FA and anit-racism and feminism and queer and trans* rights and disability rights etc. But body positivity as a concept seems limited to each individual’s personal relationship with their own body: it doesn’t address the systemic abuse and marginalization of fat bodies, or POC’s bodies, or trans* bodies or disabled bodies. I could easily be wrong, and this focus on the personal as opposed to the structural is not how Body Positivity functions as a community, but that is what I have observed of the concept in the last year or so.
I believe we need to do more. In addition to being positive about our own bodies, we need to tear down the structures that do material damage to our bodies and teach us to hate our bodies in the first place. That is why I said that FA is more political/radical than body positivity: because it address and attempts to change those structures, rather than addressing itself to primarily to individuals’ relationships with their own bodies.
Body positivity is so important, but the fact that it is so broad of a term is both its strength and weakness. Everybody needs body positivity for their own body and for different reasons (race, ability, gender expression, size etc). But because it is so broad, it is, in my mind, less useful as a coalition building tool. What is the political agenda of body positivity? To get people to love their bodies and recognize that all bodies have inherent value? What are its goals?
Fat acceptance has specific political goals: expose the pervasiveness of fat discrimination/thin privilege, stop job and wage discrimination against fat people, make public space more open and useable for bodies of all sizes, make our health care less destructive and discriminative to fat bodies, stop discrimination against fat adoptive parents, get positive/any media representation of fat bodies etc. By focusing on fat specifically, as opposed to a broader idea of body positivity, FA can build an agenda and work towards it.
That is why, though I align myself with both body positivity and fat acceptance, I put a lot more energy into FA. Body positivity is a more powerful and fundamental concept than Fat Acceptance because it applies to everyone, but it is a less powerful political tool for the same reason.
I have received some of the best compliments and worst insults on this site. I’m so happy that I found that FA community and I absolutely adore the fatshion tag. However, what I cannot stand are the bloggers who call out people, who actively post in the fatshion tag, for not being fat enough. I’m sorry, but ARE. YOU. FUCKING. KIDDING. ME. I think you’re missing the “A” in the FA - it’s acceptance. If someone identifies as a fat person that is probably because they’ve been called fat at more than one point in their life. By telling them that they are not fat enough and denying them acceptance you are filling the same role as the people who told them that they’re not thin enough and generally being a shitty human being. STOP. JUST. STOP. Ugh.
I have this same gripe, Due to the shape of my body and the way I carry weight I don’t look “plus size enough” for some people. I’ve been told that I’m detracting from real fats because I’m using the moniker when it doesn’t apply; and though I wear a size 18-20 and I weigh 227lbs, I have very little flesh that jiggles, and no real rolls to brag on.
Even weirder, when expressing this disappointment before, I’ve been called a braggart steeped in beauty privileged.
That’s why I personally found so much more value in the Body Positive movement, I have far more flaws than just ‘fat’ to accept about my body.
While I certainly agree that no one should be criticized or excluded from Fat Acceptance because they are not “fat enough” (I think we need people of ALL sizes to get invested in FA), it is important to recognize where some of this hostility comes from. Fat discrimination/thin privilege exists on a spectrum. A size 16/18/20 fatty has more privilege than a size 26+ fatty: they can still shop in the usual plus-sized stores (which usually only go up to a size 24/26), are not likely to be required to buy two seats on a plane, and will generally be able to go about their lives catching less shit from strangers for their body size than death fats etc.
Too often, the most/only visible parts of fat acceptance and fatshion are white women who are smaller fats, with conventionally beautiful faces. This leads are lot of larger fatties to feel marginalized and erased within their own movement. That is an incredibly shitty feeling. I think when larger fatties shout down smaller fats within Fat Acceptance spaces, it is a response to this marginalization. It is usually a counter-productive response, and misplaced hostility, and I definitely think FA should never exclude smaller fats (or thin people even), but those feelings comes from a real problem within the movement, and one that I think it is important that we recognize.
The last point I want to make is on the distinction between body positive communities and fat acceptance communities. While there is certainly a ton of overlap between the two, in my view the FA community is more radical and more political than body positivity. Body positivity is a more general term, and represents the personal journey that all people but especially fat and/or otherwise marginalized people go through to love their bodies despite a culture that tells them to hate their bodies. FA (in my view) is more about exposing the ways in which fat bodies in particular have been systematically othered, pathologized and discriminated against, and fighting to change those oppressive structures. FA naturally involves a lot of body positivity, because the personal is political, and often the first step towards a radical politics of fat is a personal journey towards body positivity. But I think to stop at body positivity is ultimately not going anywhere near far enough. We need BOTH.
Just my two (or twenty) cents.
A common reaction to being excluded and marginalized is to become exclusionary and marginalizing, those who were once kept out become gatekeepers. I’m all about radical politics, but saying hateful or exclusionary things to people based on their appearance is not radical.
Also, I think you’re ignoring the fact that Body Positivity is applicable to far more axis of oppression than just Fatness (Disability, Sexuality, Gender) and that to erase those experiences by saying FA is just as important is misguided.
I am with you: I think FA can and should be for everybody, and that any gate-keeping within the community is wrong. Ending discrimination against fat bodies should free everyone from a certain kind of body hate, not just fat people. Nothing excuses anyone reacting with hateful or exclusionary words: that is wrong and bad and your experience with that is totally valid and terrible and I would never endorse it or seek to erase it, and I am truly sorry if my previous response did so.
I am going to put the rest of my response and discussion of body positive vs. fat acceptance in a different post, because I don’t want to derail/invalidate your sharing of your experiences any further.
It’s been a while.
I’ve been hearing this a lot lately. This is what I think about it.
There are no if’s, and’s, or BUT’s when it comes to body positivity.
ALL bodies are good bodies.
Image is Powerful: Cameron Russell (by TEDxTalks)
This woman has been a model for 10 years, and she draws on that experience as she explores the consequences we face by idealizing beauty through the media. She acknowledges that in meeting this superficial standard of beauty (by winning a “genetic lottery”), she’s been granted unearned privilege in an appearance-obsessed culture that subsequently oppresses women the further they get from what we have defined as “beautiful”.
She encourages children to pursue a career path (!), and notes that the modeling world is where the most physically insecure people -including herself- can be found. These insecurities could not exist outside of a culture that constructs what beauty is and places so much emphasis on the it. Watch this. It’s honest, surprising, and refreshing. And if you know any young girls, I encourage you to send this video and/or this message their way. It could make a larger difference in their life than you may ever know!
I think this is a very powerful and illuminating point and I don’t just mean her words. I also mean that because she is thin, white, beautiful, and priviledged she is able to get up on this stage and make these points and be taken seriously. There are women and especially WOC who have made these same cases a thousand times are their voices go unheard because they aren’t a privileged model type. But I do very much appreciate Cameron for owning her privilege.
Secondly, this video should be shown to women and girls but this video should also be shown to everyone. The modeling industry is still a patriarchal free for all where much of the industry is controlled by men.
Happy Sunday everyone!
We have a ton of asks and submissions waiting for us in the inbox. Ellie did a great job of a bunch of them last night but I think I’m going to try to get through a bunch today as well.
Don’t be afraid to add to the pile! If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or submissions please go right ahead!
Sorry it took so long but here is a rebloggable for the Jillian Michaels question.