It seems like hardly a day goes by without a big internet fuss about body image crops up. I don’t normally comment on it, and I’ve actually never written a blog post on one of the fusses, ever.
That doesn’t mean they fly under my radar, however. I am aware of nearly every single one of them. They irk me. They depress me. They infuriate me. Yet more and perhaps worse than anything, they disappoint me.
Iggy Azalea quit social media last week. She quit because people were criticizing cellulite on her backside, which was spotted by paparazzi spying on her with a long distance lens during her vacation to Hawaii.
She said, “the internet is the ugliest reflection of mankind.”
I disagree. I think it’s the most accurate. (And therefore, okay, also the ugliest.)
And this is why I feel disappointed.
The internet is like an angry drunk who’s a nice enough guy when sober. Which one is the real person? Which state of being most accurately reflects his character and personality? Is it the drunk state or the sober state? I’m betting my money on the drunk one.
Which is the real person? The guy who smiles at you on the street, or the one who writes nasty comments online?
People love to take their masks off and get nasty.
So anyway. Iggy quit. She felt that she deserved to be… oh, I don’t know… respected as a human being regardless of how smooth the fat is on her backside.
She’s not the only one. Day after day, women like Jen Selter are applauded as heroes because they’ve got big behinds with zero body fat percentage. Women like this mom are shamed because they choose to stop exercising obsessively. Women like this are deleted off of instagram because they photos they post of themselves aren’t attractive enough. Women with children and fitspo instagram accounts are held up as “inspirations,” even though what they are really doing is exalting themselves for prioritizing fitness above all else, and denigrating every other woman in the world who has, oh, say, any other priorities.
The internet hates women who don’t look the way they’re “supposed to.” This is beyond terrible for more reasons than I can state. In short:
Internet shamers encourage women to believe that the most important thing for her to be is properly thin and proportioned. Women with children are led to believe this. Young women are led to believe this. Adolescent girls are led to believe this. Self-worth goes out the window. Priorities that actually matter like health and love and goodness and family go out the window. Women of all shapes and sizes become self-scrutinizing, self-hating, self-doubting, terrified, controlling, perfectionistic worriers who are in existential pain all of the time.
This has to be stopped.
Maybe we can help by recognizing some of reasons the internet hates cellulite. What follows is precisely that kind of list.
1) The internet is where judgment has an unlicensed heyday
The internet is anonymous. People get to take their masks off and be their nastiest selves. It’s a form of release, in a sense. It’s cathartic for some people, to be mean in this space. Let the flood gates burst open!
2) The internet is where people try to exercise the power of control over others
Hurting people is a way to act like you have power over them. When people say mean things about Iggy’s body, obviously they’re JEALOUS.
They’re just being bullies who want to be more powerful than one of the wealthiest and most successful women in the West.
3) People like to think they have a right to tell a woman what to look like, because she doesn’t have that right
Our society is all about telling women what they should look like. We have entire industries built – cosmetics, fashion, fitness centers – that profit off of doing exactly that. As human beings in this culture we are simply conditioned to behave that way. We think we get to judge and criticize a woman’s looks because duh that’s just what you do. Women’s bodies are for other people’s pleasure, not their own.
4) People hate change
Nobody likes change all that much. When things are a certain way – that is, when women are sex objects that are supposed to please other people with the way that they look, anything that contests that paradigm is going to be viciously challenged. The internet haters want to keep women like the obedient Barbie dolls this culture’s been trying to make us along.
5) The internet doesn’t understand that in order to have a fat anything you need cellulite. By the way.
It’s almost a requirement of female fat that it be jiggly in this cellulite sort of way. It’s because of the way that estrogen acts on skin tissue. It’s inevitable, it really is. People just think it’s not because air brushing.
Cellulite is normal for women. Even super thin women have it. Get over it, planet. Cellulite is here to stay, and I personally am proud of my own.
Kim Kardashian’s ass is probably full of cellulite. That’s all I’m saying.
6) People hate and fear aging
Cellulite is a sign of adult fat – children don’t really have it. Cellulite usually increases with age as women’s hormone levels change and skin becomes more beat up by the passage of time.
Cellulite is a sign of aging and people are terrified of their mortality.
Well guess what, everybody, you’re still going to die. You’ll probably have or see some cellulite on the way.
7) It’s terrible and stupid
The internet hates cellulite because the internet is terrible and stupid.
8) Good people just have better things to do with their time. Trust me they’re out there.
Okay, this point is beyond important. As society goes through culture shifts, such as learning to embrace women’s natural bodies, resistance is natural. Those who resist the most are those who are the most vocal online. Those who are down with the booty love are just cool with it. They have better things to do with their time.
They’re out there. Maybe sometimes some of them get indignant and fight back. Maybe they are even writing this article at 4am from a tiny little apartment in Spain.
So in conclusion – it’s important to realize that we live in a culture with a lot of resistance to women’s natural bodies in it. It is not right.
And then on the internet, people fight against their fears, their jealousies, their feelings of inadequacy, their powerlessness. They show their worst selves in this effort… by tearing down others. They turn women into objects. They say hateful things. They promulgate self-loathing.
Not cool, internet haters. Get yourselves together. We are creating a world that welcomes women’s bodies – cellulite and all – whether you like it or not.
What do you think about the criticism of Iggy and other women’s bodies online? What do you think of cellulite? Are you like me – are you unapologetically proud of your jiggly parts?