After the comment thread to a fascinating post at Feministe about female bodybuilders blew up into a melee of “I don’t think these women are fuckable therefore I refuse to engage in intelligent discussion” nonsense, Roy at No Cookies for Me posts a great followup about why body-shaming is antifeminist no matter what kind of bodies you’re targeting.
When you start talking about women’s bodies with terms like “disgusting” “grotesquerie” “disfiguring” or disturbing”, you’re engaging in exactly the kind of body shaming that a lot of us have been fighting against. So, thanks for that. A woman who can bench 450 lbs without breaking a sweat is no less deserving of respect than a woman who weighs 450 lbs. It’s one thing to question the social forces that lead us to view our bodies in various ways. It’s quite another to look at pictures of particular women and proclaim them gross.
If you can’t talk about about the ways that our society idealizes unrealistic body types without calling another woman “gross” or “disgusting”, then you’re doing it wrong, and you should take a minute to figure out why.
Right on, Roy. The kneejerk reaction of “I wouldn’t hit that” to a picture of a woman who doesn’t conform to the Western beauty ideal is antifeminist because it rests on the assumption that women’s bodies are only valuable insofar as they conform to that ideal. Just as some readers (and scientists) out there are shocked, SHOCKED!, that fat women have sex even though that particular reader doesn’t get a hard-on from looking at them, no doubt these bodybuilding women have just as varied, interesting, and intense sex as the rest of us. But even if they don’t? That’s not the fucking point. They are doing something with their bodies other than looking pretty — and if that disgusts you, the problem is with you.