Fat-Shaming, Body Image and a Culture of Dehumanization

What Hollywood considers a “fat actress.”

The Oscar-winning actress, Jennifer Lawrence, has come under attack for saying that calling someone “fat” on television should be illegal. She makes the point that there are regulations that prohibit the use of many different kinds of words and relegates different types of programming to different times of day in order to protect children, so why not regulate the word “fat.” She was discussing the problem of “fat shaming,” body image, anorexia and the defeminization of the female body by modern society. The idea that little girls should NOT be made ashamed of their curves is an important idea and one that we actually should be talking about. And yes she was putting the blame on Hollywood, where she is considered a “fat actress.”

 

The deafening chorus from the conservative blogosphere and media happened almost immediately. Fox’s The Five, spent a huge part of their hour castigating and deriding her. Some even joking how she needs to be given a copy of the Constitution. It’s almost as if they didn’t bother to actually watch the entire interview, relying self-righteously on a little clip. Instead of a discussion on the relevant issues that Lawrence raised, this group of self-touted talking heads devolved into a group of little bitchy middle school children. Meanwhile these are the same people who called for the firing of Martin Bashir and other leftist trolls for the disgusting bullying things they say about Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and Conservative values. Just like the Left you can’t have it both ways. Perhaps the members of The Five need a copy of the Constitution themselves when it comes to  the bullies and haters they don’t like. Maybe they should also learn to not make light  of  the culture of dehumanization that has evolved around women’s bodies in this country.

It is important to remember that Jennifer Lawrence is a role model for millions of little girls in the world. Her portrayal of Katniss Eberdeen in the Hunger Games movies provides her a unique soapbox to support the idea that bullying of girls about their looks and body is a societal ill. Anorexia is rampant among our young (boys are prone to “fat shaming” and body image issues as well). It destroys a person’s self-worth and their ability to think of themselves in a positive manner. Without self-esteem how can a person create, strive and develop? They can’t. The idea that Hollywood and Madison Avenue, have so destroyed what a healthy woman is supposed to look like, and taken from girls the right to revel in their bodies, is not only an emotional crime, but emotional abuse as well.

Kate Upton

 

You can protect your child all you want from the input of culture, but it is still there. Whether it is airbrushed models, starving actresses or commercials manifesting the “perfect” female, our children are bombarded with messages that “normal” is gross and disgusting. Kate Upton, the new model “It” girl, has even been castigated as fat and flabby by critics. Once Marilyn Monroe was the ideal woman, complete with full breasts, a little bulging tummy and broad hips. And Christie Brinkley, the athletic model, was the rage in the 198os. But unfortunately today the ideal woman is a starved 20-something whose female body resembles the look of a 12-year-old boy.

Changing how society views a woman’s body has to start somewhere. Perhaps Jennifer Lawrence’s words may have been a bit inelegant, but her idea still stands. You can’t call a woman a “cunt” on prime time television or use the word “shit.” A quick view of Janet Jackson’s breast during the Super Bowl resulted in a huge fine. These words or pictures, are deemed too harmful for little ears and too inappropriate for society. So why can’t the FCC do the same with words that demean and denigrate another human being? Psychiatry has shown that the meme “words may never harm us” is a fallacy. Words can  permanently, and quite easily diminish another person and wreak havoc on a soul.

Christie Brinkley

There is a national movement to stop using the word “retarded” in its derogatory connotation. It’s use is recognized as bullying, amidst the growing realization that there are children in our society that are bullied to death. Words can be recognized as having harmful force and effect. So why can’t society understand that there are little girls (and boys) out there who are starving themselves to death because of a perverted body image and maybe, just maybe, we should make “fat-shaming” taboo.

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About Elise Ronan

Political independent, special needs advocate
This entry was posted in education, ethics, feminism, freedom, human rights, ideals, liberal, liberty, USA and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Fat-Shaming, Body Image and a Culture of Dehumanization

  1. I wanted to say something profound on the subject, but the picture of Ms Upton sent my mind spinning away…

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  19. LittleRed1 says:

    It’s a double speak. One one side you have “fat shaming” and deriding the overweight and the FLOTUS saying that everyone needs to eat a government diet and get skinny. While fashion designers create clothes that only look “good” on androgynous size two models. And the same people (in large part) decry that same “fat shaming” and encouraging the round (and in some cases obese) with “Fatness Studies” because “thin is a racist preference” (yes, I heard this at a meeting.)

    • asd2mom says:

      Hi LittleRed1:
      While I am not a fan of FLOTUS I don’t see what she does as fat-shaming so much as trying to get people to eat healthy. Healthy and being ultraskinny are not the same thing. Now as far as fashion is concerned, I think you are definitely correct with that one. The way they even cut clothes today is smaller than 20 years ago. There is modern cut which is several inches narrower than what is considered a classic cut of clothing.

      On the other hand I have never heard of “thin” being a racist ideal, considering that the majority of people in the US are still white and they are generally obese as well, I would submit that obese is not simply something that is part and parcel of the African-American culture. But I suppose when you are a proponent of grievance culture the powers that be can decide that anything is due to racism. Just look at the students out in California who tried to claim that correcting their grammar and spelling was this new level if racism called microaggresion.To me those that push that scenario seem to be the racists. Thinking that somehow it is beyond people due to their skin color to be able to live a healthy and long lifestyle. I would say this is akin to the soft racism of those race-hustlers that continue with the nonsense that somehow going out to get ID to vote is also racist because its simply to hard for the African-American community to go get an ID card. But I suppose even race-hustlers and the useless humanities professors have to make a living don’t they?

      Elise

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