Today I read an article about body image and Victoria’s Secret, and its accompanying photo of a bikini-clad woman.
A quote from the article read:
“You’d best be mowing it close if you’re going to wear this one. But she’s probably not old enough to have pubic hair, though, so no worries. Someone once told me the way a guy can tell if a girl is old enough for him to look at is if she has ‘ass fold.’ This is the fold between the ass and back leg. I’m not a betting woman (well, unless I’m drinking), but I’m going to put a $20 on zero ass fold.”
In the same hour I saw a picture of a woman breastfeeding her toddler, accompanied comments like: “Why do we have to look at your kid sucking your saggy tit?”
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Consider this my formal plea. To stop hating. Stop judging. Stop putting others down. Stop assuming. Stop.
Behind the admittedly airbrushed, photoshopped and altered image, I saw a woman. Maybe she holds her kids close at night. Maybe she’s divorced. Maybe she’s young and hasn’t been married yet. Maybe she has an eating disorder and maybe she doesn’t. Maybe she weighs 120 lbs. and maybe she weighs 85.
My dear friend, who is also a model, told me this: “I find it really annoying when people decide to see a group of individuals who happen to have something in common as one ‘type’ of person. Yes, some models do sleep with everything and everyone in reach and get in screaming cat fights over a torn hair extension. Some are young and silly and shallow.
“But some are intellectuals who use modelling to pay their way through college. Some are in their thirties and forties. Some have pubic hair and some are shy. Some are honest-to-God artists. How can anyone look at a picture of a woman and immediately presume to understand exactly who she is? It is a form of ignorance and arrogance of the worst sort.”
What I know for sure about the woman in the picture is that she’s human.
She laughs. She cries. She’s been lonely and she’s been loved.
While we have the right to do what we want, we also have the responsibility to our planet, our culture and the betterment of both. I believe that betterment is not born from hatred. It is not born from judgement. It is not born from the feeble grasps at self-satisfaction and self-validation made at the expense of others.
We have the right to use our bodies in any way we want. Whether that be breastfeeding our children in public, modeling Victoria’s Secret bathing suits, giving birth or not having children at all.
Putting up images of ourselves—or anything else—on social media turns them into a public matter the minute we push “post,” but it doesn’t have to become war. We decide for ourselves what moments are private and what we are going to share. The minute we create social media accounts, we are signing ourselves up for viewing millions of photos individuals deem worthy of sharing, whether we agree or not. Whether we like it or not.
Making light of the one-sided portrayal of women through humor is one thing, doing so in a way that puts someone down is quite another.
Don’t silence truth. It doesn’t matter if we agree or disagree. But we can do so respectfully, lovingly and honestly.
We. We hold the power. The reigns are in our hands. Rise up. The woman in the picture does not necessarily deserve our admiration, nor does she deserve our hate. Love trumps all. Remember this before we open our mouths to commenting on a miraculous conglomeration of living and breathing cells. Before saying it’s wrong to be wearing something.
Hatred is born out of fear. Fear of the unknown, the unrelatable and that which we don’t understand. It is written all across history.
What are we afraid of?
We are here on this planet together. Let’s evolve together. Let’s support together. Let’s coexist. Peacefully. Respectfully. Lovingly.
With respect for you on your journey,
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Guenevere Neufeld / Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Flickr / george ruiz