Why Is A Fat Girl On The Internet Such A Big Deal Anyway?

meghan-tonjes

Why is it, when a woman who is between a size double-zero and size 6 posts a photo or video online, the collective interwebs gushingly declares their love for their body shape with thousands upon thousands of views and likes? But when a fat or curvy woman posts the same thing, it becomes an issue about body image, and it is almost as if she has to give a valid reason why she is there, citing her weight loss journey (for instance) or a “couldn’t give a f$%^ attitude” to justify why they are posting.

Society’s fascination of plus size women in a negative and demeaning manner needs to stop, and it’s not just ordinary citizens which need an attitude adjustment. A lot of our ideas are shaped and carefully constructed thought patterns churned out from the institutions we are influenced the most by: fashion, the media, advertising, consumerism, etc.

Vlogger Meghan Tonjes was recently a victim of institutionalized body shaming in a way that is quite shocking. You see, she loves her body (there’s society’s first problem with her!) and isn’t afraid to post pics and videos of her weight loss journey, and parts of her body she is most proud of.

So when she posted a tame photo of her rear end covered by underwear on Instagram, you’d think no one would blink an eyelid, especially amongst the myriad of girls on the social media platform who gain huge followings from showing more bare skin than clothes. Click here to see the enormously offensive, oops, we mean totally nothingburger photo posted by Meghan.

And Instagram happened to agree with whoever reported it because it “violated nudity laws”. Sounds ridiculous right? Pop star Rihanna recently had her entire Instagram account cancelled because she posted far too many nude pics of herself, with nipples and butt cracks galore. But this picture? It doesn’t even rate on the “scandalous” scale amongst all the women who post butt selfies day after day.

Jen Selter, the Instagrammer who became famous for literally posting photos of her butt every day, landed a feature in Vanity Fair magazine (no joke you guys!) recently. And why in earth did no one care when Kim Kardashian posts numerous photos of her almost or actually nude?

But Meghan’s picture? Oh take that down immediately! How dare a curvy woman be proud of her body and want to flaunt it publicly! The powers to be at Instagram had obviously agreed with the person who reported it and removed it. Yet because this story caused such a huge stir on the internet and in the news, they replaced the picture on Meghan’s account after being accused of blatant body-shaming and favoritism. Power to the people!

Meghan also vlogged about the incident saying: ” Just because people are uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s against [Instagram’s] community guidelines.”

The social media platform issued a statement after restoring the photo saying: “Our guidelines put limitations on nudity and mature content, but we recognize that we don’t always get it right. In this case, we made a mistake…”

After the whole incident was resolved, Meghan said: “Loving your body and being comfortable with it is one of the most rebellious things you can do in this world. It’s a body revolution and there are people who don’t like it and want to fight against it.”

“Loving your body and being comfortable with it is one of the most rebellious things you can do in this world. It’s a body revolution and there are people who don’t like it and want to fight against it.”

The other video which is making the the internet go into overdrive, is called “A Fat Girl Dancing” which so far has over 3 million views! The video features dancer Whitney Thore who is a fellow body image activist and showing the world that all the stigma’s about so-called “fat women” are in fact intrue, and the world needs to see a new perspective.

Whitney is a radio producer from North Carolina who also has a medical condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which made her rapidly gain weight and in turn made her fall into a deep depression at the age of 12. Eventually she decided enough was enough and was determined to take back control of her low self-esteem and body weight, and inspire other women along the way with a movement she started called the ‘No Body Shame’ campaign.

“I became a licensed Zumba instructor who could easily run four miles. I even auditioned for and was accepted into the Dance Therapy program at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, but outside of the gym, I was still criticized and felt ostracized for being fat. I started to realize that there was more to this self-love thing than just losing weight,” says Whitney about the reason behind the videos.

Appearing on the Today show talking about her awesome dance videos, she says she never intended to become a voice for the body-positive movement, but that she originally just wanted to get her body back to a size which was deemed “acceptable” by society. After losing some weight and still not feeling happy and fulfilled like she thought she would, it was then she realized that loving yourself wasn’t about how you looked on the outside.

“Positive change can’t start or be sustained until you are truly kind to yourself from the inside out,” she says. “Losing weight hadn’t solved my problems; it hadn’t made me love myself…your body doesn’t have to limit you…you don’t need society’s permission to seek your joy right now. Love yourself. Live fully. No excuses. No shame.”

Whitney-Thore

That’s right, NO shame. The only shame here is that stories like Meghan’s and Whitney’s are the anomaly. That they have to be the brave ones bearing their bodies so that other women like them can wake up and realize they aren’t shameful for the way they look. Society should be ashamed when it tells women they need to fit into a narrowly-defined category to be seen as worthy, successful of beautiful.

What will it take for us all to stop being so segregational when it comes to women’s bodies? For the time being, messages like the ones both of these women are putting out there are desperately needed. These are the stories that need to go viral more and more, because it gives women hope. Women who are oppressed because it is too hard to live up to an unrealistic standard, so they are forced to think they don’t measure up.

But there needs to be a fundamental shift in our attitude to the way we look at women as a whole. They aren’t just bodies, body parts or sexually gratifying beings to satiate a desire fueled by the aforementioned institutions. The burden has for far too long fallen on women to use their bodies as a commodity because it sells. The only ones who can lift that burden is us. Refuse the institutionalized definitions, refuse the sexism, reject the notion that a size 16 body isn’t beautiful because it isn’t on the cover of Vogue every month.

These bloggers and body image activists are the type of women we should be telling our daughters about because in an age where we have everything and can do anything, they are pushing the boundaries and increasing visibility for all body shapes and sizes. These are the names that need to be given more air time, because the are more real than any cast member of a “Real Houswives” franchise.

Like Whitney said, acceptable comes from within, not an external source. The more we pay attention to how we define ourselves, perhaps we will start to realize the immense power we have over our own lives. And do you want to know what a woman with power looks like?

Check it out:

10 Comments

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  4. patriciaaavsobrado says:

    Big girls.are fun

  5. Pingback: Youtube Star Whitney Thore: "Fat Is Such A Dirty Word In Our Society"

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