Monday, April 9, 2012

Stop being so average, averagey!

I realize that this is ancient history in internet years, but I didn't get around to writing this blogrant when it was relevant. I recently had my attention drawn to this topic again though, so now is the time! Unless I get distracted by video games and cats halfway through, but if you're reading this then I guess I trudged on to victory.

Tangential rambles aside, a while ago this picture was floating around the internets, surfacing on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and probably assorted other sites:

This picture infuriates me for a number of reasons, but what bothers me most about it isn't that it hinges on an unproved assumption about its audience (that we find one thing "hotter" than the other), nor the implication that there is a unanimous standard of hotness (though those are pretty bad). It's not even the fact that it's comparing candid paparazzi shots to professionally lit and shot staged photographs.

No, what really bothers me about this picture is that it's lashing out against people who insult and demean women based on their weight by . . . insulting and demeaning women based on their weight. I know I'm drawing a lot of conclusions from a simple caption here, but the creator (and the thousands upon thousands of people who shared, posted and tweeted it with emphatic claims of "This!" or "So true") appears to be totally oblivious to the glaring hypocrisy.

Let's back up a bit. Yes, people who are fat (or not even fat, just "not skinny") have been getting shit for a while, because of this perceived Hollywood ideal that women must be skinny. Yes, that's horrible. When young girls are starving themselves to lose weight, well, nobody sane is going to argue that things are ok. However, that doesn't mean it's ok to turn things around and go the other way.

Our society is hypercorrecting for this problem so hard that the solution to insulting people based on weight is now to insult a completely different group of people based on weight, and that, sirs and ma'ms, is some bullshit. Saying someone is "too skinny" is *exactly* as bad as saying someone is too fat. Phrases like "I don't want a sack of bones, I want a REAL woman" are every bit as demeaning and offensive as "I don't want an obese lard troll." In fact, I'd almost say the anti-skinny trend is worse because I've seen people who are so wrapped up in their anti-Hollywood white knightism that they are oblivious to the fact that they're doing exactly what they hate, parading their prejudices while patting themselves on the back for being upstanding moral paragons who chivalrously rebel against the mass produced media ideals. (That was fun to write.)

So there. The next time you're about to comment on someone's weight, replace the word "skinny" with "fat" and see how it sounds.