If I Had a Tumblr, I’d Reblog These Posts…

This is what the Sunday Five has evolved into, because coming up with exactly five related links each week is tedious, and silly, and way too hard to do. The first couple of links all have to do with body image (because, of course, once I decide not to restrict links to a specific topic I just happen to focus in on a specific topic!)

First up, Beauty Schooled’s weekly Pretty Price Check is a quick dose of reality about how much money, time, effort, etc. we really sink into looking “pretty.”

The next body-image related piece comes from Definatalie and center;s around Rejecting the Notion of the Flattering Outfit.  Here’s a long excerpt because it was impossible to choose just one paragraph, really you should just skip over the excerpt and just read the whole thing because it’s worth it!

When we talk about wearing clothes that flatter our personal body shapes, it’s a conversation that’s usually had between women. Most of the time it takes the guise of kindly advice, whether it be the advice of a person close to you or from some nameless fashion writer working for any glossy magazine. The message is usually the same: maximise things that are too small (usually just boobs), minimise bits that are too large, choose fabrics that drape well over lumpy sections and don’t make too much of a spectacle of yourself, girl. I’ve read well-meaning guidance that instructs tall women not to wear heels; encourages all women to be mindful of not aging themselves; decrees those with big bums to avoid skinny jeans (yeah right!); and helpfully suggests that women with all over chunk should avoid large accessories. I really enjoy having parts of my body reduced to “chunk”. No really. The sick thing is most of us talk to each other and ourselves like this; if your enemy called you chunky, shit would be on, but when your best friend does it you know she’s just concerned about how you look.

Restricting and policing women (and men, but women are certainly the overwhelming focus of body and fashion criticism in the western world) and their fashion choices under the guise of helping them look more palatable to other people is harmful and hurtful. That we are indoctrinated into feeling indebted to people for pointing out our “flaws” feeds into the cycle of shame, and the endless pursuit of some kind of really boring and generic idea of beauty. If you’re flat chested, you’re encouraged to dress to give the illusion of curves, and if you’re short you ought to employ vertical stripes to trick people into thinking you’re taller. Just two examples of ways to flatter your body into some kind of societal acceptance. It’s patently ridiculous to me, because even if I practice flattering dressing techniques – I AM STILL FAT. Other people know I’m fat too, but it’s almost like any steps I make towards apologising for my unacceptable body are deemed as suitable penance.

To change gears completley, Lesley at Fatshionista re-posted something she wrote about white privilege back in 2008. I’m very glad she choose to do this, because I probably would have never read this post otherwise! Again, here’s a short snippet from the post but you really ought to just read the whole thing:

This affects me; race affects me. If you’re white, race affects you too. And I don’t mean other folks’ races, which is often the mistaken assumption a lot of white folks seem to make whenever the subject comes up. Being white affects you. It is a function of our privilege as white folks that allows us the option of living our lives without knowing the how or the why – an option, I might add, that is not afforded to the majority of people of color. Race ain’t something that happens to other people. Race is not external to you. Your race influences, to one degree or another, how everyone anywhere interacts with you, what they assume about you, how you’re treated in public and private spaces, the kind of attention you get, the expectations placed upon you.

The next one for this week is less a “favorite” piece and more something that I just think everyone needs to hear about and respond to, because it’s just that fucked up. Via Jezebel: Jury Decides Consent is not Required for Girls Gone Wild.

Jane Doe, was dancing in at the former Rum Jungle bar in 2004 when someone reached up and pulled her tank top down, exposing her breasts to the “Girls Gone Wild” camera. Jane Doe, who was 20 at the time the tape was made, is now living in Missouri with her husband and two children. She only found out about the video in 2008, when a friend of her husband’s saw the “Girls Gone Wild Sorority Orgy” video and recognized her face. […]

The woman sued Girls Gone Wild for $5 million in damages. After deliberating for just 90 minutes on Thursday, the St. Louis jury came back with a verdict in favor of the smut peddlers. Patrick O’Brien, the jury foreman, explained later to reporters that they figured if she was willing to dance in front of the photographer, she was probably cool with having her breasts on film. They said she gave implicit consent by being at the bar, and by participating in the filming – though she never signed a consent form, and she can be heard on camera saying “no, no” when asked to show her breasts.

This is seriously fucked up and, honestly, through this ruling the courts are essentially condoning a company’s ability to profit from a woman’s assault. As if the Girl’s Gone Wild franchise wasn’t exploitative enough already. Please, if everyone can just take a few moments to blog/tweet/whatever about this event & encourage others to follow suit. Rulings like  empower the jerks who see no problem with violating another human being – this cannot be allowed to stand. [Also, if anyone knows who a letter writing campaign could be directed to, please let me know!]

ETA: This video about the case from Fox News is old, but still awful. How is reporting like this allowed to exist?

Lastly, I’ve been enjoying the reddit comments on my most recent blog post about phone numbers! That post has garnered more feedback than anything I’ve ever written, and I really appreciate hearing other people’s take on it. (I’m especially happy about the feedback from one of my real-life friends who directed me to this video clip from MadTV, which pretty much sums up my new strategy for these awkward situations.)

That’s all I’ve got for today – I started compiling these links on Wednesday, so I don’t have as much as I’d like to share. Feel free to point to the cool things that you’ve been reading & writing in the comments!

3 thoughts on “If I Had a Tumblr, I’d Reblog These Posts…

  1. IMO, Natalie doesn’t like the idea of flattering clothes because of that cruel group which posted her picture there. She has a point in that you should try to love what you’ve got rather than try to hide it (ie: with the thing about emphasizing your small boobs rather than trying to make them appear bigger) but there is definitely something to be said for flattering fashion. Flattering does not mean hiding. It means dressing to bring attention to the parts of your body that you love and want to show off, not necessarily trying to hide the ones you don’t like. It’s a basic tenet of fashion sense, and one which I don’t believe should be totally rejected.

  2. To add bit more:

    Dressing to make yourself appear slimmer is not flattering, it’s hiding.

    Wearing green because it matches your eyes and brings them out is flattering.

  3. Flattering by that definition is fine, but a lot of people use it pretty much interchangeably with “slimming” which I find incredibly problematic. Look at TV shows like What Not to Wear… flattering in their minds almost always means creating the illusion of an hourglass figure by utilizing “slimming” styles of clothing. It is also weird to me when they have thinner women try and create bulk in certain areas (hips and shoulders, typically) in order to achieve the hourglass shape… can’t we all just love the body-shapes we have?

    Dressing in a way that makes you feel confident and happy is what I wish everyone meant when they referred to flattering clothes, but I don’t think that’s the case a lot of times sadly which is why Natalie’s post resonated so much with me.

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