By Arden M.
As young girls, growing up we are constantly familiar with the pressures of what we perceive around us, whether that on screen, art, advertisements, etc., and now with the recent forms of social media young girls & women easily come face to face with these “ideal” images. Our modern day world has now provided new obstacles and yet many platforms for expression through sources like Instagram, facebook, twitter, YouTube, and other social realms. Now we see many women sharing their opinions on large movements and continuously expressing their morals, beliefs, and even their disdain towards the stigma of a woman’s societal status, appearance, and revolving social issues like sexual harassment/assault.
It’s not uncommon to scroll through posts on a woman’s account like Instagram for say and see comments that go from a range of positivity & female empowerment to things that include objectification, body shaming, or what we call “slut” shaming. However, many of the negative comments don’t merely derive from misogynistic males, in fact, most criticisms come from fellow women. The reason for this being the influence of body image, behaviors, and other norms that media has provided, which begins to in some way educate and regulate our perceptions at an early developmental stage, which later go on to fester into what becomes the stigma of a woman.
When asked to describe a model many may proclaim ideas of thin, tall, and otherworldly amazons, however in view of many recent ad campaigns we are seeing more full-sized and curvier models. More brands are beginning to portray women as more than one figure hoping to shift the ideals of beauty and pressures that society tends to place on both young girls and adult women. Known for her push for body empowerment Ashley Graham, a plus size model, was featured on the cover of sports illustrated, continues to make the cover for other fashion magazines, and even runs her own line of lingerie that aims to make women of all body types feel comfortable in their bodies. Ashley has a very present voice on social media and does not tend to hold back when it comes to body shaming, so recently after receiving a comment on Instagram saying “'Good Morning… Ashley!!!!$ Looking good…. Baby bump…. :))))),'” she was quick to respond with " That’s just called fat,” her straight response left no room for further discussion ultimately shutting down the body shaming follower. This is just one of many cases in which a celebrity has become a victim to public shaming on media and unlike Ashley Graham, most don’t often take the time to respond to these comments.
Around April of 2017 several photos were released of Kim Kardashian on her vacation in Mexico, what the photos contained were the exposed lines of cellulite on her body. Already a large target of criticism for her surgeries and implants, many do not hesitate to jump on a bandwagon in shaming the reality star, leaving remarks on twitter like “Kim Kardashian’s butt has gotten out of hand...that shit nasty bro” (Sydney @sydnaaasssty) and “Kim Kardashian’s butt, the result of fat injections to make it so big, is sagging and riddled with cellulite...giving butt ugly new meaning.” (Judy Wyckoff @jlw8375309). Both comments were left by one younger named Sydney and an older woman named Judy, showing that there is an induced response of criticism towards women across multiple generations. In a response on twitter Kim said “Oh and ask for me you ask?...I’m just sitting here on the beach with my flawless body”, however when appearing on the view and commenting on the recent uproar in the media, Kim claimed that the pictures were photoshopped to be more dramatic and noted that she was upset by the comments and it inspired her to “get it together”. Unfortunately, her comments on the view were then met with backlash from others who claimed she was not a good role model for others and that she should not push the idea of changing what’s a natural occurrence in the body for the sake of others. One tweet reading “She said the pics were photoshopped to look bad...like...girl we all are lumpy it’s cool” by user Jess (@asapjesss).
The case of women’s representation in the media is constantly flipping between comments and opinions of support to even the harsh criticism that does not appear to be abided. As we commonly see, the platform of the media gives voice to both parties of positivity and negativity, now due to its easy access and the use of technology within even younger generations today, there is a constant exposure to these ideas good and bad within our youth.
I. Fischer, Maria. “Kardashian Admitted the Photos Took a Toll on Her Confidence.” Revelist.com, www.revelist.com/celebrity/kim-kardashian-slams-cellulite-photos/8177/kardashian-admitted-the-photos-took-a-toll-on-her-confidence/7.
II. Vagianos, Alanna. “Ashley Graham Shut Down A Troll's Pregnancy Comment With Just 4 Little Words.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 18 July 2018, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ashley-graham-shut-down-a-trolls-pregnancy-comment-with-just-4-little-words_us_5b4f427ae4b0b15aba8a6cec.