Take a look at the main picture on this post. It is taken from a plus-size female model photo shoot. What emotions come to mind? When I saw this picture, it reminded me of a bit from one of Bill Burr’s stand-up specials. In the bit, Bill mocked the current trend of celebrity praise towards overweight actresses and models for ‘courageously’ shedding their clothes for fashion shows. The notion that fat models and actresses deserve to be called ‘brave’ did not sit well with the Boston comedic legend.
That joke is funny because it is so close to reality that it blurs the line between escapist comedy and societal commentary (all good comedy does). Over the past two decades, third-wave feminist social justice warriors have pressured moderate leftists in entertainment and the media to aggressively propagate ‘body positivity’ and ‘fat acceptance’ philosophy, which teaches that all bodies are equally beautiful and they all should be loved and admired for their unique perfection. Let me be frank. This is complete and utter bullshit. No one actually believes this, including the people that preach it.
The Hollywood A-Listers that champion this mindset certainly don’t. Why? Because if they become fat and ugly, their marketability will drop to zero. People vote with their wallets and the box office is a good indicator of how people really feel about fatness and beauty. Women generally enjoy watching actors that are buff, jacked and shirtless. Women didn’t rocket films like 50 Shades of Grey, and Twilight to the top of the box office for their profound artistic visions or Oscar-worthy performances; they wanted to see Jacob and Christian shirtless. Similarly, men want to watch actresses that are zeniths of sexual attractiveness. They don’t want to see fat women with cellulite and stretch marks. Perhaps Robin Williams said it best in the classic Mrs. Doubtfire: “Oh no, dear. I think they’ve outlawed whaling.” The inverse relationship between weight and perceived beauty is showcased in both men and women ‘s preferences. There’s already equality of the sexes there.
There are objective standards of beauty and there always have been (granted, there is variation across cultures, but not with obesity). Ask any plastic surgeon; their profession is based on manifesting these standards in their patients’ faces and bodies. It is simply false to say that all body types and sizes are equally beautiful or desirable or optimal. Obesity has surpassed smoking as the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. It is absurd to act like there’s nothing wrong with being fat. Should we be cruel to fat people? Of course not, but we can’t act like this politically correct fantasy is, in any way, grounded in objective reality. It’s not. It’s false. It’s wrong.
This stubborn insistence on refusing to recognize reality has become a staple of feminism. The first-wave of feminists served a noble and necessary purpose in the women’s suffrage movement. It must be noted that 60% of women at the time did not want the right to vote because the right to vote came with unattractive societal obligations, such as registration for the draft, firefighter watch, polling duties, etc. Furthermore, it was male pro-suffrage lawmakers that ultimately passed the legislation. Nevertheless, Susan B. Anthony and other first-wave feminist leaders were addressing a tangible inequality that needed to be rectified. The feminists today are not the feminists of the early twentieth century. The feminists of today are rabid social justice warriors that based their premises solely on collectivist emotion and post-modernist ideology. They are concerned less with the equality of the sexes than with a crusade against the white male. The movement has become deeply corrupted. In this series, we’ll examine various ways that feminist policies and actions actually harm women, instead of help them.
Like all other post-modernist driven social movements, these intersectional feminists believe that beauty standards are solely determined by culture and society. What is the remedy? It’s the same solution as every other post-modernist social justice philosophy: deconstruct the socially engineered construct of beauty and reprogram the masses with a neutral, relativistic (and usually nihilistic) standard that aims for equality of outcomes.
Post-modern feminists see beauty as another tyrannical hierarchy. The few at the top (skinny, beautiful, admired and masturbated to) have the power (privilege) at the expense of those beneath them in the hierarchy, which includes people in the normal range and obese people. An assumption that’s made is that everyone has a right to be comfortable with their body, i.e. that they’re fine just the way that they are. These feminists want to dismantle the hierarchy, through social deconstruction and compassion propaganda, so that obese people feel just as good about their body as supermodels do. This might seem like hyperbole (which it is), but it’s the logical conclusion of the philosophy. Neither intense pride nor intense shame is seen as optimal.
The prized destruction of the beauty hierarchy means that ALL WOMEN will feel comfortable. It’s the communist form of aesthetics. Shame and pride are the psychological emotions that are associated with punishment and reward. Punishment scares us from repeating a harmful behavior while a reward provides an incentive for improvement and future achievement. When equality of outcomes is enacted through artificial means, which can happen economically through communism or socially through body positivity indoctrination, there is no competition and no competition means that there will be sup-optimal outcomes for everyone. It seems that these feminists’ main concern is the eradication of peoples’ internal shame regarding their appearance.
Shame, like all forms of pain, has a purpose. When it functions properly, shame protects us from harmful habits and deters us from engaging in behavior that will lower our self-esteem. Obviously, shame brought on by bullying, mental illness and trauma is counterproductive and those suffering from such plights should seek medical treatment. But healthy shame serves a vital function. When a pilot goes too low to the ground, her altimeter recognizes the dangerous situation and commands the pilot to pull up. This is the purpose of shame. It’s a mental cry for a course correction. If someone willfully ignores it, he’s like the captain of the Titanic, who foolishly ordered the ship to go to full speed in an effort to excite the press, despite the poor visibility and prevalence of icebergs. That decision made it impossible to turn the ship when the danger appeared. Obesity is a huge contributor to rising healthcare costs in America, but more importantly, obese people don’t feel as good as healthy people because their condition affects their energy and mood. Another harsh reality is that obesity is seen as a sign of laziness. That’s just a fact. Attractive, successful, desirable men are less likely to want to become romantically involved with an obese woman than a healthy woman. It’s an unpleasant, harsh fact of life. Even if the feminists get their way and the body positivist philosophy is forced on the public, men will still prefer to have sex with healthy girls.
I have heard the words “Just love me the way that I am” several times in my life and they’ve all been uttered by obese people. It’s a pitiful sentence to utter, precisely because it entails a complete and paralyzing belief that positive change is not possible for that person. It can also mean a person simply doesn’t want to change. This is heartbreaking because it means the person has sentenced themselves to stagnation, or worse, regression. Generally, it signals that a person is unable to graduate from victim-hood and that it will be easier to get other people to alter societal standards instead of striving to meet the universally accepted standards. It’s a very ballsy move because it entails shifting the burden of proof from requester to requestee. The obese person doesn’t want to change in any way from her current state, despite the fact that she is trying to get another person to break away from a universally held belief that’s deeply rooted in objective reality. The requestee is the one who has to do the mental heavy lifting, not the person wanting societal accommodation.
The feminist hatred of hierarchies isn’t fully without merit. Power structures can, and do, become corrupt frequently, which is why reasonable checks on power must be put in place. Obese people should not be discriminated against for jobs, unless their condition renders them unable to perform a job (a morbidly obese flight attendant is not a good idea). Obese people should not be harassed or abused because of their situation. They should be treated with compassion and when they muster the willpower to go to the gym or go on a run, they should be praised. Losing weight is extremely hard and those of us that are fortunate to not have that particular struggle should be cheerleaders for those that do. But, in doing so, we are still acknowledging reality for what it is: obesity is neither physically attractive, economically optimal or physically healthy. Hierarchies also serve a purpose: they provide incentive for advancement and improvement. Everyone is capable of improving themselves and to deny that fact is simply evil.
We’ll examine more ways that feminism has gone too far in Part 2!