Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hashtag Whatever-Shaming

I made a status a while ago about the double standard in the “body-shaming” trend. Lets be honest – there is a double standard. If my size 1 self were to call someone a Fat Bitch I would quickly be the internet equivalent of tarred and feathered. I’d be called out for Body-Shaming. I’d be told that I was an insensitive asshole. I’d be attacked and shunned and all that good shit. I’d lose all my facebook likes and all my blog readers. And I should. BUT – if a heavier woman were to call me a Skinny Bitch, or say something like “real women have curves” (So, I’m not a real woman then? Hmm. Guess this vagina is just here for decoration.) Or suggest that I “eat a cheeseburger” (I’d be happy to, mind you. I happen to like cheeseburgers), she is celebrated. She is heralded a hero because somehow, she is being proud of her body by essentially slamming mine. She is a strong, proud, beautiful heavy woman and she is standing up for all of those that are like her. Bullshit. Be proud of yourself, wonderful. Love who you are. Absolutely. Don’t let the bastards get you down and all that good shit. But for fuck’s sake don’t be a dick about it. Just like in any other instance of being a person, its complete assholery to knock someone else down in order to make yourself feel better. Its junior high Mean Girls behavior and it should be absolutely fucking unacceptable no matter who it’s coming from, who its directed at, or why. But it happens. Which brings me to my actual point.
We feel the need to label everything today. Girl is overweight, is called fat – Body Shaming. Start a support group. Girl is dressed like a slut, is called a slut – Slut Shaming. Make signs and protest. I eat healthy and kick the gyms ass as often as possible and wear a size one, I am told “real women have curves” – Skinny Shaming. Write a blog.
Wait just a damn minute. We want to label it something. “SomeKindOf Shaming” in this case. We need to give it a buzzword so that we can have these protests, parades and outrages. So that we can blame the results of being treated poorly on this thing that we now have a word for. There wasn’t always a word, a label, something to hashtag or put on a sign. But this shit has always existed. And why? Because we are people. We are human people and some of us are assholes. That girl that called me a whore when I had the miniskirt and hooker heels on? That guy that called the heavy girl fat? They are just assholes. They are calling it like they see it because their mama didn’t raise them any better. They have their own issues and they’re threatened by other people living contented lives. There doesn’t need to be a word for it, it doesn’t deserve a label. Assholes are assholes. But the truth is – we like to get worked up.
You see, if we label it, we can make those signs. We can proudly march them and protest this thing that we are upset about. We can tell each other (ourselves?) that we are “FIGHTING FOR A CAUSE.” We can tell each other that we are appropriately upset about whatever the current thing is. We can say that we are a “Whatever-ist.”We can tweet random shit with a hashtag about anti-whatever and feel like we are making a difference! Guess what y’all? That’s bullshit too. You think your cleverly worded posterboard is going to make that guy think twice before calling that girl fat again? Nope. He won’t even notice it, and if he does, it will probably only amuse him. Do you think your appropriate outrage against Slut-Shaming is going to make that girl hesitate to call me a whore when she sees me in my miniskirt and hooker heels? Absolutely not. I have never met someone who said “Yea, I used to be a dick, but then I saw a sign/clicked a link/read a blog and it made me decide not to be a dick anymore.” Your protests have not changed her behavior, or his action, or either of their asshole-ishness. Our protests won’t change human asshole people ever. But as long as we stick a label on it, make the signs, post the links we can be falsely comfortable in our activism. We can think that we are making a difference. We’re not.
In fact, we’re creating other problems with our need to label. We have given these words far too much power, guys. People are so hyper-aware of these buzzwords, so damn afraid of being associated with one of these labels that they are doing flat out dumb shit. Schools can’t impose a dress code on their female students anymore, because telling them that they can’t go to school with their boobies hanging out and their shorts at vagina length is “body-shaming.” Mom’s can’t decide that their little girls shouldn’t listen to foam-finger humping, weed smoking, unnecessary nakedness Miley anymore, because then they are slut-shaming. Hell, I have been accused of fat-shaming by a person who overheard me giving someone else (who had asked for it, mind you) healthy lifestyle pointers. The actual “shaming” isn’t shaming. Its just plain ol’ asshole behavior. And now normal behavior and standards are being attacked because of the fucking labels given to the actual asshole behavior. It’s all completely asinine. Having the labels causes more issues, and “fighting” the labels isn’t going to solve a damn thing.
We’re going about this all wrong, guys. Posterboard signs won’t help. Raising our girls not to be those mean girls – and holding them accountable when they are – will. Raising our boys to respect women will. Actually having a conversation with that one person who you know is a consistent dick might. And on the flip side – fill your kids with enough self esteem that they won’t be affected by the whatever-shaming. Teach them to see it for what it is – insecure assholes being insecure assholes. Teach them that the words or actions of these assholes is not a reflection of them, but of the assholes themselves. And don’t stop with your kids. Teach your friends, your friend’s kids, the other moms at school (yes, even the ones that you don’t like.) If we are whole healthy happy people, we are equipped to deal with the assholes and to not be affected by them. Help everyone in your world to be a whole healthy happy person in any way that you personally can. It’ll make a shit ton more difference in this world than your damn buzzword filled posterboard sign will, no matter how cleverly worded it is.
Or, and here is where I may lose even those of you that have been nodding along right up until this point, just Get. The. Fuck. Over. It. Accept that there are assholes in this world, and get the fuck over it. Make your choices and live with the consequences. Choose to go out dressed like a slut – expect to be called a slut. And don’t care. Choose to eat healthy and go to the gym – expect to be told that you’re not a real woman. Deal with it. Choose to not eat healthy and not exercise and be overweight – expect to be called fat. And ignore it. We are all responsible for our choices. Now am I saying that choosing to dress provocatively gives other people a right to disrespect you? I absolutely am not. But they are going to. Because people suck. Get over it. Get thicker skin, or make different choices. Or – go tweet about it with a really catchy hashtag. Let me know if that helps.

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