Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Body Snarking is Never OK Actually. Not Even on Facebook.

Maybe I should quit Facebook.

I think it's something we've all considered time to time. Who doesn't have a racist uncle on Facebook? Or an asshole friend from high school? Or a Tea Party cousin? My typical tactic is to unsubscribe and hide all that annoying, hateful, ignorant shit from my eyes. And I expect that people who hate feminism do the same to me. I don't bother unfriending because what if morbid curiosity takes over and I want to creep on their profile later?

So I just hide, hide, hide.

But lately I have been receiving such a deluge of annoying horribleness that I feel like I can't even keep up. Today, it was photo being shared of a very large girl in a very small pair of shorts. It's being passed around with the sole purpose of mocking her. 

Here's a sampling of the ever-so-enlightening remarks. I'm going to put a big Trigger Warning and SIC on all of this because I'm pasting these samples as they are written. And, well, you know...it's Facebook:
That is painful for both the person wearing and the person looking.
its like a mushroom overlaping the sides!
I think her ass is slowly eating those things called shorts.
I am so glad the face wasn't shown, but this person needs to start looking in a mirror in the morning and if she thinks this is sexy, she is crazy!
And then there's this one, which really hits at the critical issue here:
I saw it yesterday....which then made me make sure I at least did the 20 min Fast and Furious Insanity work out even though I was beat! Makes feel much better about how I look in my shorts now though lol 
There it is. The real reason they all feel so comfortable mocking this chick. It makes them feel better about themselves. At least I'm not that big. And if I was (am) at least I cover up! It's incredible that so many adults let someone else's choices/looks affect them. But why? Really, by existing in her tiny shorts, this woman isn't doing anything to us. If we dislike what we see, we can look away.

Truth is you might not have made the clothing choice she has made, but talking shit about her doesn't make you more attractive, skinnier, or a better person. In fact, talking shit about her kind of makes you an asshole. Plus, sharing a photo of someone to mock them on Facebook is called cyberbullying. (The 4th graders in my program know that. But the people sharing this photo are probably the same people who would mindlessly share a clip of the documentary Bully and think it's really great and that we should all "STOP BULLYING!!1!" but not consider how their own actions actually contradict this.)

And next will come the inevitable argument that by wearing something so small this woman is essentially asking for the mockery. But, as I've said about a million times, making a particular clothing choice doesn't cause shitty things happen to you, shitty people make shitty things happen to you.

With all of this body snarking and fat shaming happening on MY Facebook feed, I can only imagine what other people see on a daily basis. I mean, like I already said, my feed is relatively cleaned of the type of people who participate in this stuff so I can only assume the average Facebook user is exposed to this a lot more than I.

Social media can be a great thing, but one of its biggest evils lies in how cruel people become when the put a computer screen between them and another person. Social niceities usually preclude the blatant sharing of our mean inner thoughts, but on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the like, we feel comfortable joining in group mockery of others.

So sadly, fat shaming is just so fully accepted.

But when a girl sees a picture of a woman who is her size being made a laughing stock simply for wearing ill fitting clothes, what is the message she is being sent? In short it is: Your body is gross. You should hide away. Cover that shit up, or this will happen to you. It's no wonder that so many bigger women have to actively fight for the right to be seen. And it's no wonder that Facebook is playing a dangerous role in eating disorders at present.

Is this what we want? Really?

So let me get back to the title of this post. Body snarking is never ok, actually. Not even on Facebook. Not even if she's really fat. Not even if you disagree with her clothing choices. Not even if you don't know her and she'll never see your words. And let me defer here to something Chloe at Feministing shared recently from a panel she sat on: There's no wrong way to have a body. 

Think about that, really do. Let it seep in. Say it again and consider what it means.

Her body isn't wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent, insightful post. I'm in exactly the same position - there are some people I just can't delete, for whatever reason, but I often hide their updates so I don't have to suffer them ...


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