Pinterest, Body Image, and Feminism

As a body positive advocate, I follow many bloggers and pinterest boards who post a lot of images like these:

 

These images are all beautiful and have helped me and many other women feel more comfortable in our own skin.  I’ve read the stories of many plus-size models and have so much respect for them and how they’re working to expand our culture’s definition of beauty.

That said, there’s something about all these photos (other than the ever-pervasive hour-glass figure, photoshopping, and lack of racial diversity) that’s bothered me.  They still show women using their bodies to fit a certain kind of “sexy” – a sexy that is appealing to the heterosexual male demographic.  The women are always seductively posing, rarely engaging in an actual activity.  They are putting their bodies on display to be consumed by a lustful gaze.  They are still using their body to satisfy the viewer’s desires instead of their own, empowering the viewer more than themselves.

I know that’s the modeling industry.  Models are supposed to just look good in clothes – that’s their job.  But can’t they look good driving a car or reading a book or taking in a sunset instead of just waiting to be seen?  As bloggers, can we share and spread more images of women enjoying their own bodies?  Let’s celebrate our abilities that go so far beyond “being sexy”.  Let’s celebrate other women of all shapes and sizes who engage in activities that nurture their bodies and souls…

Writing this, I’m reminded of a comic where a woman is breastfeeding her baby in front of a well-known lingerie store.  There is a full-window-sized poster of a model’s bust bursting out of a skimpy bra while a mall cop scolds the mother for public indecency.  Women’s breasts are considered property of advertising companies to the extent that it’s “inappropriate” for us to publicly use them for their intended purpose of nurturing our own children.  Let’s take back the ownership of our own bodies and all that power…

What activities do you love to do?  How do you show your body appreciation and love?

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4 thoughts on “Pinterest, Body Image, and Feminism

  1. I agree with what you’re doing with this, and I feel there needs to be more awareness and support. The only thing that sticks with me is the binary opposition between the first selection of images and the second. I recognise it’s meant to represent empowerment of the self, however, somewhat ironically, it is often displayed in pop culture in the same way as a tampon commercial, or a government initiative about how to refer to the disabled with political correctness. As though it’s despite being heavier (disabled/menstruating/etc) that one can do these things, pottery etc. Again reinforcing the notion that being heavier is something to overcome in order to fit in. Which is fundamentally counterproductive as it still embeds the ‘us’ and ‘other’ mentally which breeds the segregation and disempowerment which it is intended to overcome.

    Which kinda puts us in a no win situation… accepted/objectified or empowered/patronised. I guess as long as there are women being objectified in the media at all, any woman being used as a pair of breast to sell anything, whether the intention is to counter it or not we’re still playing into a counter-feminist dichotomy of creating a hierarchy of women’s appearance.

    • Thank you, and I agree with all your points – the female body (and, by extension, identity) is considered an object to be perceived, judged, and compared, instead of part of whole other living being who experiences her body internally.

  2. Thank you for these beautiful images of the Female Form. I agree totally that we have a responsibility as bloggers to present images that represent the diversity and beauty of women in every form. I have been in the Fitness Industry for over 20 years and have refused to work in many situations where women of all shapes and sizes were not welcomed and celebrated. I have encouraged women, especially young women to boycott publications of any kind that present an unrealistic, altered or even ‘un-human’ images of women. I hope that we can influence young girls everywhere and encourage them to celebrate their bodies as beautiful…all of them:)

    • Wow, thank you! And thank you for helping to change the fitness industry from the inside out by supporting women in building healthy and happy relationships with their bodies. 🙂

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