Bodyshaming is Alive and Well, People

Humans are not a homogeneous breed of robots, all made the same and all intended to look and behave the same. We all have distinctive features and trademarks that anchor our uniqueness. Some are similar, but not the same.

No matter who or what reiterates this to the masses, bodyshaming is not diminishing anytime soon. It's a notion so deeply ingrained in Western culture it has been institutionalized (LADBible, BuzzFeed, for example) and adopted by passive readers and listeners who don't see the consequences of labeling variations in the human form as flawed or lesser in beauty. 

BuzzFeed recently published a story in which they attempted to confront the 'unrealistic' representation of beauty in Victoria's Secret swimwear ads by putting their 'realistic' sized staff in the same costumes, the process in which they show the risque raunchiness of Victoria's Secret attire is unattainable for 'real women'. 

The purpose of this was liberation for 'normal' sized women who aren't paid to look beautiful and sell lingerie products. The underlying moral of this story is that models can't possibly be real women because they don't have enough meat on their bones. Models endure hours of exercise to tone their physiques, which are then critiqued from every angle by professionals and scrutinised by the public because they are so beautiful, which is apparently damaging because beauty is dangerous.

I'm a big fan of BuzzFeed. I read at least two posts on their site or app everyday. I admire that they embrace diversity, support humanitarianism and unashamedly confront all the hot controversies, most recently the pitiful bigotry from anti-LGBT communities. As a whole, they do great work boosting women's rights and presence in mainstream media - this story, however, was offensive because it wasn't meant to be offensive. Whoever wrote it intended to embarrass and lambaste Victoria's Secret, but essentially labelled the models as aliens in the process because they're not like the 'real' women featured in the article. And herein lies the problem.

It's idealist of me to say that we need to kill off bodyshaming completely. We absolutely do, but at this moment in time, it's not a realistic or attainable goal because its roots go much deeper than pointing out someone's 'dad bod' or big boobs or skinny collarbone. To most people, it probably looks like harmless fun, or, in the case of BuzzFeed, actually trying to contribute to the change.

Acceptance of the diversity of the human form has been a long time coming, and there's still a way to go. It's reassuring to see so many campaigns, for men and women alike, that celebrate people as people and not the standardised depiction of beauty, but it's important to remember that naturally thin people and professional models are not to blame for the beauty obsessive and harsh culture that we live in; the advertising, beauty and fashion industries are.

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