After Jezebel posted a response to SkinnyGossip blogger’s ridicule of Kate Upton, my sister-blogger and I found inspiration to do the same.
Without further ado, here is the chat that Lou (author of Cheap Wine and Panty Lines), and I (yours truly, RLB), had about the insanity that is calling Kate Upton fat….
CWPL: Ok – so first off – Are You F*cking Kidding Me? – is the perfect sentiment, no?
RLB: Absolutely! I realize this is one blogger spouting one inane opinion, but it’s this type of mindset that makes beautiful, healthy young women feel like s*** about themselves.
CWPL: I can’t help but wonder, this is clearly the site of some sick people. Actually really sick, if you ask me. And it can’t possibly be the only viewpoint of its kind out on the Interweb; why do you think this particular instance is garnering so much attention?
RLB: In terms of the Kate Upton post, it’s such a vile personal attack. While there are a lot of sites that blatantly promote unhealthy notions of thinness, this post goes the extra mile in writing really horrid, insulting things about a perfectly stunning young woman. It’s interesting to me that the author equates her shapeliness with pornography. As if an extremely thin woman in tiny clothes is somehow less evocative. Clearly this writer has issues with women’s sexuality in addition to weight issues.
RLB: Let’s talk more about your sentiment that the author or authors of this blog are actually sick, as in mentally ill. Others have expressed the same sentiment, and the blog’s author claims to have gotten some pretty nasty backlash (violent threats). Doesn’t that kind of negativity just perpetuate the cycle? (of judging women as objects)
CWPL: I would say yes. I would say a lot of what that woman is saying on her blog is a result of media portrayal of women. That she’s clearly a victim of her own beliefs. It’s sad and I hope two things – that she uses this as a way to reevaluate, seek help, whatever (being that it’s so public now though, I fear the opposite effect) and that our attention to what is going on contributes to a change in the portrayal of women in our society.
RLB: While I don’t want to give her blog too many hits, I was curious about her “views on self-harm,” and she says the site is “intentionally outrageous and intended to provoke controversy,” which is fair to an extent. She’s revamping or eliminating her Starving Tip of the Day (seriously, Starving tip of the day??), and closes out by saying the following: “…there’s nothing wrong with saying skinny is beautiful, just like there’s nothing wrong with saying curvy is beautiful, or red hair is beautiful, or anything else someone happens to find appealing. It’s an opinion, and we’re all entitled to them.” This closing statement seems somewhat contradictory, as her site essentially invalidates any opinion outside of Super Skinny is Best. As for the Kate Upton post, I think it strikes a chord because this person’s “opinions” are so vicious and degrading.
CWPL: Right. And she is attacking something that many people struggle with every day. It’s a hot button issue – battling with body image is a lot more serious than having red hair. We all know I judge people everyday on my blog, but it’s an aesthetic. Something they choose. There just seems to be such a stark difference between someone not liking your clothing choices, or hair color choice, and someone not liking your body … ya know? I know what you mean when you say it’s fair to an extent, it is I guess, but it’s also just a crock of shit. Ahem. What that lady was saying on there was crazy unhealthy.
RLB: It is fair to claim that the purpose of your blog is to indulge in snarkiness (Hi there, CWPL!) but I agree that vilifying someone for their physique is far more harmful than critiquing fashion choices. As Amelia once pointed out, we all deserve to have ownership of our own person. Tearing someone apart because of how their body looks diminishes their ability to say “this is me and I am happy with who I am,” because on the other end you have someone calling you a fat cow because you were once photographed eating a cheeseburger.
CWPL: I wonder if the woman in question had actually been much, much curvier, if the outrage would have been the same. From the outside.
RLB: As in someone like Christina Hendricks?
CWPL: Sure, or even some less well-known model.
(RLB note: for example, any of these women)
RLB: I suspect she wouldn’t have had the nerve with someone curvier. It would be more insulting that way, and infuriate more people.
CWPL: I don’t know. There is just something interesting to me about the fact that it’s Kate Upton, freaking Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Extraordinaire. It is our standard after all, as the Jezebel article points out, so would we be so quick to defend someone curvier? I dunno. I also think the pornography comment has a lot to do with the fact that we’re dealing with a real sex symbol here.
RLB: If you consider what a major issue body image is these days, along with the issue of how women are portrayed in the media, I think there will always be a ton of people ready to defend attacks against curvy women (or not super-skinny women). The biggest issue here is that this “critique” is so… personal. I’m starting to repeat myself, so allow me to be specific: She repeatedly refers to Kate Upton not only as pornographic, but also as a “little piggy” and ….a cannibal, presumably because she’s a “cow” eating a burger. To imply that a woman who looks a certain way is a disgusting slut (simply because of the Way She Looks), is reductionist at best and presumptuous shaming at its worst.
CWPL: I just hope Kate Upton doesn’t suddenly lose 15 pounds.
RLB: Or become a vegan.
CWPL: Or a prude. Hah. Celebrity is a dangerous game, more than ever now with the Internet.
RLB: It’s a crazy game.
CWPL: Facebook can be damaging enough – Tumblr too – for regular young women. I can’t fathom what young women in Hollywood/fashion/etc. must endure. And I know you can speak to that very well. And still, just imagine if people had actually been talking about your weight while you were living in LA. Strangers! Gah, it seriously spooks me. I even think how awful it would be to end up on the losing side of “Who Wore it Better” in my gossip rags.
RLB: Strangers did talk about my weight! Agents would tell me to my face that I’d fare better if I lost 5-10 pounds. And I was already about 15 pounds thinner than I am today. It was insane, and a huge part of why I left. It sucks because fashion and celebrity gossip can be so fun, but when you think about how image obsessed it makes us as a culture, it becomes a serious problem, rather than a frivolous diversion.
CWPL: It will be interesting to see how this continues to play out, if it does. Newsworthiness is fleeting, but we can certainly add this to the Discussion and if there is anything positive to be said for it, it’s that this blogger’s vitriol is bringing attention to a subject in dire need of attention: how women are portrayed in our society.
Also in the news, this, which I think is something you’ve been really interested in lately. What say you of this Gawker writer’s approach to the story? It’s quite interesting and yay for those young girls, right? Methinks the message is spreading …
And that concludes our first In The News segment. Stay tuned for thoughts on the teen girl uprising against fashion mags!