01 November, 2011

what's wrong with this picture?

Good lord, daydrinking. I should totally know better than to drink a "high alcohol" beer on a Luna bar at 2PM, but WTF EVER. There was pumpkin porter! and good company! and I have to spend tomorrow with student thesis statements!

So yeah. Daydrinking. Anyway.

You know that XKCD comic? The one that says there's people doing stupid things on the internet? And the little stick man gets all pissed off and can't let it go?

Yeah. Well. This isn't a stupid thing, what's got me all ticked--but it's a symptomatic thing. In short: this picture.

It makes me angry.

And more than it, the response to it makes me angry. I got into it, briefly, on Facebook, and I walked away before it got personal and angrier. And because Facebook isn't the place for argument, and because it wasn't my Facebook, and because the impetus behind the posting was, for the poster, rather personal. So okay. I get that. Fine. I was bulimic in high school. I get not finding validation in the media for my body type (which is, for the record, mesomorphic. I am muscular. Not gaunt. Not curvy). But I had, and have, friends on both sides of the fat/skinny divide, so siding with one and slamming the other was and is not an option.

Anyway. This is my space, and I'm still pissed off about this picture and its message and the women who are passing it around and liking it and who should all fucking know better. 

So tell me.

Why is the curvy woman more attractive than the skinny one? Seriously. Why? Because more women have hips? More women are curvy? More women have big breasts? Is this an argument by majority? More of us can attain the hips and butt and tits, so the other one is clearly the problem?

I don't get it. They're both women. We can't tell from the image if the thinner woman works out, is anorexic, is naturally gaunt, or what. We can only lay our value judgments on her, and then back up and pretend we're being feminist while doing so. If the thin one works out to be thin, she's Bad because she's conforming to society's expectations! She is? How do we know this? Maybe she likes to work out. Maybe she's naturally skinny. Maybe she catches shit from people all the time for having a small chest and bony hips. Maybe she tries like hell to gain weight and can't.  Maybe she really does work out 10 hours a day and eat three leaves of lettuce a day and drink only water and take speed to keep skinny because Hollywood tells her to so she can have her image posted on the internet  for people to make fun of and judge to get validation from strangers?
It doesn't matter. She has a body and she's living in it. Curvy women, fat women, skinny women, athletic women, transwomen--all have bodies. And we're all living in them. And we really, really don't need to be judged and policed by our own because... because... what? Society is currently favoring the thin over the fat? It's all bullshit, people. Shaming the skinny chick to validate the curvy one is no different than fat-shaming. And don't even bring up 'health' to me, okay? Health isn't measured by skinny or fat. You can't fucking tell from looking. Citing health as a reason for personal preference is concern trolling at best.

What the image, and the comments about it, come down to are personal aesthetics and an adolescent need to justify one's self by denigrating someone else. Seriously. We need to be the fuck over that shit by now.

In order to stick up for the curvy chick, we have to slam the skinny one. We have to decide that one of them is ugly, and one of them is not. That tells me we're still talking about attractiveness as some objective value, without discussing who decides what's attractive. In this case--you know what? It's the same fucking society. The one that deemed Marilyn beautiful is the same one that's decided the skinny woman is beautiful. It's called... wait for it... PATRIARCHY. It's MEN deciding which of our bodies is acceptable, and whose is not, and assigning us value based on that. So you know what? When we think we're being all rebelllious and valuing the curvy woman over the thin one, we're still playing their game. We're still buying into their power structure.

Shit. We don't need the patriarchy. We do it to ourselves.


  1. The worst thing is that it is impossible for some women on both sides of the fence to live up to their image - Marilyn, dead at 36, Karen Carpenter, dead at 33.

  2. It´s more atractive because is healthy looking ...

  3. Good call! I would like to see women support each other more and get over this unproductive competition. We cannot rise to the top if we're pulling each other down. Good looks are fleeting--personality is for life. It's funny how we are reminded of this constantly (by ads for anti-aging creams, etc.), but don't seem to be able to remember it. This picture has about as much value as a picture of a healthy 20-year-old next to her terminally ill 90-year-old grandmother: respectively, "This is more attractive/healthy than that." Is that a picture for the granddaughter to be proud of? Is how they look all that matters?