Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Body-shaming and modesty policing: size matters

In the past few blog posts, I've been focusing on body-shaming, modesty policing and the inherent hypocrisy therein. I explored "pick me" and "not like other girls" and how they inevitably stem from jealousy and lead to attacking others of whom they are jealous. Here's what for me was the piece de resistance "pick me" and "not like other girls" body shaming. 

A woman, we'll call "Carbolica" on a workplace Facebook group acid-blasted others for "skimpy" "slu-ty"  unprofessional attire. She went off about shorts, tank tops, skirts, cleavage, etc. The vitriolic rant seethed jealousy.  Ironically, Carbolica is the poster gal for styles that have been considered tacky and unprofessional since time immemorial. 

Carbolica is 50ish, overweight and wears paint-on tight leggings (with skulls, kitties, unicorns, etc), tattoos, piercings and hair dyed a different cartoon color every week. She's always militantly loud on her right to look and dress as she pleases. If others don't like it eff them, yada yada. She fancies herself edgy and tough. I don't judge. I consider her a friend and would never in a million years comment. Until the modesty rants began. How bizarre is it to demand acceptance of your NSFW choices then attack others for what you consider to be their NSFW? What are you, unconventional or a prude? Or do you just make up the rules as you go? And where I would normally just mind my business, I had to address her not minding hers. 

First of all, I explained that professional attire depends on workplace. And her leggings and hoodies are the two most banned attire in schools, workplaces and even airplanes. Add to that tattoos, piercings, non-traditional hair color, too tight clothing and goofy, clownish patterns. None of these are or ever were "appropriate." I do want to state that I didn't call anyone out. If she wants to look like a clown, it's not my circus. Which I realize sounds a little acidic, but I intend to. 

Normally I would take a more diplomatic approach but there comes a time when like must meet like. Sadly, it seems to be the only language body-shamers understand. And that time is when the ganging up starts. I guess I'm na├»ve because I assumed others, might question her smack-talking. No such luck. Countless others joined the acid throwing. And almost every one was in the +++size unicorn skull leggings club. 

I didn't and never would  fat-shame or shame period, though their tirade was rife with thin-shaming. From their "I'm fat, dress tacky and everyone else has to like it" stance, they belittled cute slender girls wearing shorts. And the words they felt comfortable using! "Sl-tty" "trashy" "wh-reish." Mixed with Victorian prudish "flaunting" "showing off" and "provocative" (provocative?? have you looked in the mirror? Those leggings of yours provoke a lot of comment and not the good kind). And weird that you're Sweet Polly Purebred but you talk like Sailor Sam. 

 And why? Because a woman is attractive, dresses comfortably and is slender??  Because, make no mistake, size matters in body-shaming. It would be called fat-shaming to critique someone pouring a 3x body into XL skirts, sharing prominent camel toe or letting flab bulge out everywhere. It would also be grounds for dismissal in many workplaces. 

Yet Carbolica felt it her duty to point out a smaller girl's "a$$cheeks hanging out" (direct quote). And gag-inducingly comment on genitalia (word amended from original) showing which apparently she divined across a crowded grocery store. What shows is a disturbing preoccupation with others' bodies. And a lurid imagination. Talk about pick me! 

So this body-shaming went on for many graphically vulgar comments. It's like they were trying to out-nasty each other and no blow was low enough. But it's okay cuz they were just helping women see the error of their ways. Shee-yeah right. And I'm the Dalai Lama. And the core issue was see-thru: rabid, venomous jealousy. One woman actually admitted feeling uncomfortable in her larger body seeing an attractive, smaller woman. But then undid her self-awareness by blaming smaller women for "making" her uncomfy.  

I realize I sound kinda "not like other girls" myself for saying that I'm the only one that spoke up. I thought at least the moderators would have kiboshed it. But no one did. So I had to. I didn't address anyone nor mention the obvious pick me elephant in the living room. I called out the venom. Not for myself.  I've spent too many years letting the modesty police live rent free in my head. For too long, I allowed them to micromanage my neckline, hemline, clothing fit etc. Now I wear what I want and if it offends, oy vey. I spoke up for all women who have been unfairly censured for their bodies. For all who have been shamed and bullied to the point that they hate themselves, their bodies and their lives.

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