I am so unbelievably sick of body image campaigns. Actually, if I see another one I think I might actually die.
No. Srsly. Fuck. Off. Why is it my responsibility to love myself and not the responsibility of society to love me for all of me, not just the way that I look?
My biggest problem is that none of these campaigns even remotely question why it is that women are valued entirely on the way that they look, they just remind us that we’re only really valuable for the way that a (male) gaze sees us.
Don’t get me wrong, body image issues are of a massive concern, particularly to young women. I read some article the other day about how many young girls go on diets, or hate their bodies, and it’s way too many, it’s really wrong. But, it seems like all the youth women’s movement does is talk about body image and – guess what- it’s not the skin you’re in, it’s the patriarchy stupid!
Lets think of an example – Dove ran their beautiful at every size campaign. Showing women that (so long as you’re still traditionally beautiful in the face and that) you can be beautiful at anything from a size 6 all the way up to, oh, size 12 (bigger than that isn’t beautiful see, cellulite sets in) same company that owns Dove owns lynx, who have been doing their part to fuck up young women (and young men’s attitudes to young women) since day one.
At the same time as Dove’s pretending it thinks you’re beautiful –EVEN if you are size 12- lynx is reminding you that you’re only worth objectifying (which to them means you’re only worth the oxygen you breathe) if you’re stick thin with massive fake breasts and covered in mud.
If you ever needed more proof that better body image campaigns are a part of the system that continues to oppress us you only need to look at who’s running them.
It’s not the campaign, it’s the patriarchy. In a lot of ways I feel as though campaigns that tell women to solve the problem of the way they view their bodies ignore the real problem, which is that we live in a patriarchal society which tells women to say not fuck you, but fuck me.
As a movement we need to stop giving into the idea that women are valuable because of how they look and start asking people to question why they care.
And that, is why I will never run a body image campaign.
What do you all think?
What I love, is this ‘for real women, by real women’ idea. As if some women aren’t ‘real’? Or that there is a scale of ‘real’ness that we all fit on? Body shaming has reached all new levels – you’re too fat, you’re too thin… Nobody can even tell you what this ‘ideal’ body is, because it doesn’t exist.
We’re setting up our future generations for failure when a) we praise them for being ‘beautiful’ and ‘pretty’ and b) when we tell them that there is such a thing as ‘real’ women, and all others are not worthy.
Yes, most commercial “body image campaigns” are problematic due to their hypocrisy, the limited range of women they present, and the fact that they still attempt to drive women to buy ‘beauty’ products. Yes, the root problem won’t be solved until society changes how it views women’s bodies and the value it attaches to women’s appearance. However, body image campaigns and in particular those run by body positive, body acceptance, fat positive, fat acceptance, and health at every size communities can and have made a massive difference to many women’s lives by helping them unlearn a lot of what they’re taught to think about their bodies and cement their own self image so they are less hurt and damaged by the messages they see. It might be just a first step or just one prong in the multi-pronged attack that is needed, but the fact remains that the fewer women who buy into the society’s view of their bodies the less power that societal view has and mass media and marketing will need to find new ways to sell their products or their stories.
An example of an excellent body image campaign: http://istandagainstweightbullying.tumblr.com/