Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Womens Bodies Are Never Perfect

I made a conscious decision to visit more black blogs. On my first and last trip to Crunk&Disorderly I was greeted with yet another attempt to discipline the bodies of women.

image

The Photo is labelled, "Why Are You Exposing The Problem Area" Beneath is is the following commentary.

Fresh,

I had to pass this along (please dont ask why I was on Fabo’s myspace page . . . it gets pretty boring in the office).

There are definitely three (count ‘em three) side eyes going on in this pic. I’m going to leave the captions to you but its obvious shorty in the front and the sista to the right is not feeling homegirl’s stretched out stomach.

- - Bree

Get even more side-eye candy at Side-Eye Fever!

I am getting tired of calling this shit out.  Why is it necessary to divide womens bodies into parts that are pleasing, or displeasing to the eye? Why must we cover our bodies because "real bodies" cannot compete with the digitally altered pictures of women that appear in magazines? Finally why should a stomach that once carried a child be deemed repellent because it bares evidence of the miracle that occurred? That should have been enough for me ...why, oh why, did I think that this blog could be redeemed in the comment section?

How does, How can, How can you be skinny and have belly wrinkles like that!

I mean, I have a belly and I sucked it in and it doesn't even do that!

She probably tells people that's from when she had kids. Thing is, those kids look like they're at least 11.

I just picture this boy hollering "No Mama, I don't want to stand their! You're stomach looks like brains!!

even the lil boy is screamin. why my mama gotta shame me like this?

When I checked the blog there were 139 comments of the same vein.  They remind of a school of piranha, viscously feeding off the flesh of this woman; tearing a bit of her dignity away with each comment.  The sad part about this is that it is common behaviour in locker rooms, or in quiet whispers exchanged between friends as a less than "perfect woman" walks by.

From the moment a baby girl is born we use adjectives that refer to beauty to describe her, and judge her value.  It is a burden that the female carries from her first breathe to her last. It is part of our social discourse that has become so normalized that to speak out against it is to be called angry, or overly sensitive.  A good girl excepts the fact that her body is flawed  and engages on a program of self improvement that enriches the diet, exercise, and beauty industry.  Our bodies are devalued because it adds profit to the capitalist system and helps to maintain the patriarchal grip on the world.

We are sold the lie that this all just a part of the natural selection process.  Yes we engage in this cruel dissection of form in an effort to ensure male attention. Well I call bullshit! There are too many institutions that benefit from this cruel practice to claim that it is anything other than social discipline. I am sure when crunk & disorderly placed this photo on his/her blog they thought it was just mindless fun, however fun at the expense of the dignity of another is hardly progressive or validating of human worth.  The aforementioned should not even be necessary to say.  Well Crunk & Disorderly thanks but no thanks....I think I will stick with a blog that does not gain traffic or amusement from devaluing women based solely on appearance.


9 comments:

OTM said...

Great analysis (as always!), especially this: "A good girl excepts the fact that her body is flawed and engages on a program of self improvement that enriches the diet, exercise, and beauty industry. Our bodies are devalued because it adds profit to the capitalist system and helps to maintain the patriarchal grip on the world."

Do you read Stereohyped? It's sort of a gossip blog, but much smarter and with better analysis and a more feminist slant. Plus they post items from sites like C&D so you don't have to go there, which I appreciate. Lauren Williams is great.

Renee said...

@OTM no I have never heard of that blog but I will certainly check it out...thanks

Faith said...

I understand your point but I don't think the woman is wearing attire that flatters. Wearing a belly shirt when your belly is out of shape does draw attention to it. Clearly she is not concerned otherwise she would not have worn it. If more women were upfront about the changes to our bodies as we age, give birth, etc instead of hiding, it would not be so shocking. But there is no way I personally would do that. I'm far to modest to begin with.

Renee said...

@Faith but we can only find it "unflattering" if we have decided that there is something wrong with her body.

August said...

It pisses me off so much when people act as if women have a responsibility to look exactly the same as they did before a pregnancy (and as quickly as possible!), as if the pregnancy could not have possibly changed a woman's body forever beyond her control. I just can't stand it when the work a woman does to gestate a child is disrespected like that. Let's see how quick those guys "bounce back" after handing their bodies over for the sake of another being for almost a year.

Yobachi said...

Hello Renee,

I wanted to make sure that you saw my latest comment to you at Slant Truth's blog, and get your opinion in hopes of having a real dialogue:

http://slanttruth.com/2008/08/01/obama-heckled/#comment-2427

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

I don’t appreciate how the commenters are projecting dialogue onto the children. My body is far from perfect and as far as how I physically feel, including my ability to be more acitve and mobile than I am, I often hate my limitations. However, my daughter loves me, does not despise my body and will defend any insult her father or sister dare to launch. It is pitiful knowing that when she goes outside of the sanctuary of our home that people will be actively working on convincing her to despise her mother.

President Anthony Taurus said...

I'm sorry but I agree. I think it's necessary to point out these problems so others can have the sense not to do it. I am big boy myself. I would get just as ridiculed by any woman, or man, if I were to walk outside of my home wearing something revealing.

Should I walk around this earth complaining about some woman who just has to "divide my area" into parts and criticize? No! Why? Because damn it, I have the common sense god gave me to agree. Just as I have enough respect for myself to not be out there doing it, I'd appreciate the same respect from others as well.

You've made this an issue of criticism of women's bodies, or body parts, but it is far from that serious. You're narrow, self-serving view of the issue seeks to create more problems than what truly exist.

Instead of running around the internet criticizing black blogs, or blog parts, why don't do more to combat the problem. Oh wait, you did that by pointing out the problems with most black blogs. Interesting to say the least!

Renee said...

@President
Instead of running around the internet criticizing black blogs, or blog parts, why don't do more to combat the problem. Oh wait, you did that by pointing out the problems with most black blogs. Interesting to say the least!

Item 1) I didn't say that this was an issue exclusive to black blogs. I said that I came across this blog in an effort to read more black blogs. Read beforeyou criticize
2)It is nonsensical to say that certain bodies parties need to be covered because they do not match the media projected image of perfection. What we are shown is unrealistic and the worshiping of these forms has serious consequences for women..ever heard of anorexia or bulimia?
3)Calling people out for inappropriate behavior is combating the problem. Would it be better if I were silent? Unless we stand up and say that things like fat hate are unacceptable it will continue to flourish.