I recently wrote an article for xoJane about leggings. A fairly innocuous topic, right? Sure, people have strong opinions about fashion. And leggings are a particularly polarizing issue: Of those that give a crap, half think they’re god’s gift to comfiness, and the other half think they’re an abomination to butts everywhere. So while I was expecting some fallout of the “those aren’t pants, dumbass!” variety, I wasn’t prepared for the body-shaming that I got.
My favorite remark came from commenter Maggie Wessel, who had this to add about my worthiness as a human being:
“… I kind of hate the author’s claim of [having] “jiggly” legs. YOU DO NOT. Shut up, stop trying to become more human by deciding you’re a fat girl just like us.
Also, go buy real pants.”
Ms. Wessel can excoriate my legwear choices all she wants. But her claim that I am less than human because I don’t fit some arbitrary definition of “fat” is total, complete bullshit. “Stop trying to become more human by deciding you’re a fat girl”? Wait, what?
This sounds like a familiar argument. Oh, right: It’s that message we’ve been hearing our whole lives: “You are less than if you do not conform to my exacting standards of beauty. And you will never conform ENOUGH.” Don’t we ladyfolk have to deal with enough shit about our bodies, no matter what size or shape or color we are, without adding yet more criteria? Thin enough to conform, but fat enough to be human? No. Just, no.
Turning our anger on “skinny” chicks is counterproductive. Eloquent Mags isn’t pissed at ME, she’s pissed at THE PATRIARCHY. She’s pissed that a woman’s self-worth always, always boils down to her body and its fuckability quotient. And you know what? I’m pissed too. But instead of farting all over the internet about how chunky women are better than skinny women, or curvy ladies are better than not-curvy ladies, or willowy betches are better than round squishy betches, let’s all focus our attention on judging women for their actual human qualities. Sound like a plan?
Furthermore, let’s stop posting this shit all over Facebook:
The way to get people to stop judging women’s bodies is to STOP JUDGING WOMEN’S BODIES. Not to switch WHICH particular body type we deem superior and which we deem inferior. This whole “real women have curves” nonsense is bullshit, and anyone with half a brain cell who takes half a minute to think about it knows it.
What does that make me, a FAKE woman? Last time I checked I had two X chromosomes just like most of these other betches. And I could even go out and acquire myself a Y chromosome and STILL BE A WOMAN. Mind-blowing, I know. I could even have been born a man and still consider myself a woman. Or not have any gender at all, or be triangular or trapezoidal or spherical and STILL BE A FOR-REALLY-REALS HUMAN BEING.
I don’t need jiggly thighs to be considered human. Nor do I need to have thin thighs. Or big boobs. Or two kidneys, or two legs, or eyeballs, even! It’s amazing, the beautiful rainbow of body types human beings of all genders come in. And whether or not anyone considers our body types attractive should have very little to do with how we stack up as human beings.
So Maggie Wessel, I respectfully disagree. However, you’ll be happy to know I have bought several pairs of real pants. Because unlike women, there is actually a distinction between “real” pants and “not real” pants. Because pants, unlike women, are objects that can easily be sorted into categories based on their physical characteristics. You see the difference?