This Model Shaming Another Woman Proves How Judgmental We Still Are About Each Other's Bodies [UPDATED]
The Debrief: UPDATE: Dani Mathers has now been charged with 'invasion of privacy' for her actions.
UPDATE: Los Angeles police have now charged Dani Mathers with 'invasion of privacy' for the picture she took of a 70-year-old woman, naked in the gym, back in July.
If convicted, she could reportedly face up to six monthsw in jail and a $1000 fine.
'Body shaming is humiliating, with often painful, long-term consequences. It mocks and stigmatizes its victims, tearing down self-respect and perpetuating the harmful idea that our unique physical appearances should be compared to air-brushed notions of "perfect." What really matters is our character and humanity. While body-shaming, in itself, is not a crime, there are circumstances in which invading one's privacy to accomplish it can be. And we shouldn’t tolerate that.'
Good guy Mike Feuer.
Earlier this week, Dani Mathers made a really bad life decision.
The 29-year-old model was in the changing room at her gym, saw a fully-nude woman changing, took a picture and wrote over the top 'If I can't unsee this, you can't either'. Then she posted it to Snapchat.
It was a despicable move. One that's likely to destroy the body confidence that so many people have worked to build up. In Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, patients with anxieties pertaining to a certain situation are often asked to think of the worst possible case scenario and then, to assauge that fear, evaluate and rationalise just how unlikely that scenario is to come true. What Dani has done is make a reality out of the number one worst case scenario people with body confidence issues could possibly dream up.
Dani for her part, has apologised. 'I chose to do what I do for a living because I love the female body and I know body shaming is wrong, that's not what I'm about and this is not the type of person I am.' She said. 'The photo was taken as part of a personal conversation with a girlfriend and because I am new to Snapchat I didn't realise I had posted it, and that was a huge mistake.' Proving that, actually, perhaps she is that person, just not when it's a public matter.
Dani has since deleted her Twitter and Instagram.
But really, aren't we all that person who body shames? Sure, we don't do it in the same public and spiteful manner that Dani did. We might even do it subconsciously. But there's a reason the Daily Mail's Sidebar of Shame continues to post pictures of women in bikinis. The picture editors aren't picky; they'll post pictures of famous women, non famous women, old women, far too young women, thin women and fat women. Some days it's all there is to see on the site. And sure, we get mad about it, but really, we're all looking. And, as long as we're all looking, they're going to keep posting them.
So, why are we all so obsessed with staring at other women's bodies? To me, it's a clear but misguided attempt to balance out our own insecurities. It's that slight thrill you feel when a 21-year-old supermodel is pictured with a smidgen of cellulite or the small smugness you allow yourself at the headline 'Pregnant? Or just a big lunch?'. Sure, you're outraged at how the woman in question is being treated but secretly, you're a little bit glad it's not just you who doesn't have what is deemed by society to be a 'perfect' body. In truth, we've been taught to feel so shitty about our own bodies that we can't help but hold them up in comparison to others.
Really, healthy bodies come in all different shapes and sizes and, over the past few years as the fitness industry has grown, the wider public finally seem to be accepting this. Last year, at Wimbledon, JK Rowling spectacularly took down a troll who took umbridge with what he deemed was Serena Williams' 'man' like shape. This year, at the same event, no-one batted an eye as Serena, powerful and beautiful as ever, smashed her way to her seventh Wimbledon victory.
What's needed is a wider diversification of bodies in the media. It's something that's said every day and is something being addressed. TV shows like Girls and Orange Is The New Black are lauded for their approach to portraying a varying range of body types when really they're just taking a snapshot of how we all really look. To treat media that promotes a normal body type as 'groundbreaking' is to label it as tokenistic, something that makes us feel like we're doing our part when really, all our old prejudices remain.
Not that it matters, but the woman Dani took a picture of looks to be herself in great shape. Dani though, for some reason, found the woman's figure to be remarkable. Something worth commenting on negatively. And perhaps it's to do with the industry she works in - being surrounded by one body type daily would skew anyone's perspective of what 'normal' looks like. Equally though, perhaps we are all at fault for helping to perpetuate an image of 'normal' that doesn't exist to help alleviate our own insecurities.
In the age of the internet, consumers are key. You, my friends, have the power to elicit change. Keep consuming pictures and films and TV shows that are not representative of everyone and that is exactly the media that we will continue to be served. Change it up though, and who knows what the future could look like.
Like this? Then you might also be interested in:
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Gemma Styles: Make Sure Your Social Media Habits Aren't Harming Your Body Confidence
Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons
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