When I started my ‘Zany and Zaftig‘ column on this blog it was in response to so many readers requesting that I show more style posts–because there were so few outlets that showed curvy gals’ style. When the other day I decided to create a Pinterest board also celebrating zany and zaftig women, I could never have imagined the sh*t storm that ensued.
The below photo in particular garnered over 230 comments that ranged from “fatty” and “porn” and “fat is not beautiful. Period.” to long, crazy and mean-spirited discussions about obesity, health, anorexia, metabolism, and endless debates over the use of the term “real woman.” I was at once disgusted, fascinated, intrigued and overwhelmed by such passionate responses to (in my opinion) a beautiful size 14-16 woman siting in a peacock chair. I mean seriously.
I pinned these images mostly for the sake of diversity. I believe very much in diversity and that it is diversity itself that is the most beautiful and intriguing. I don’t just pin curvy gals, I don’t just pin black girls, I don’t just pin white girls or skinny gals or girls who look like me. I pin all kinds of ladies–and other stuff–that–for whatever reason, I find to be refreshing and beautiful–inside and/or out.
Many of the comments on this photo saddened me because it became so clear to what degree media has created an atmosphere of self-hatred and a trite ideal of beauty. As I try and work my small corner of the Internet to work against these stereotypes I see how deep in it we all are. I spent a long time debating whether or not to sensor the comments. As the board curator, I have the power to delete comments. And while some of the discussions and comments were so utterly offensive that part of me really wanted to delete–I realized just how much this dialog was necessary–and I left all the comments–the good, bad and ugly–up. I still don’t know if I made the right decision.
The top photo is me. Size 14. Unphotoshopped–with all of my cellulite and my curves (taken before my pregnancy began). My doctor (thank god) has given me a perfect bill of health. Quite frankly, I like me this way, and so does my fiancé. I am not ashamed by my body.
Could I exercise more? Sure. Could I eat healthier? Absolutely. But shouldn’t all of us always be working on ourselves, be it physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually or otherwise? I think so.
I also think that while we are all working on ourselves, let’s also try and be a little nicer to ourselves–to each other, and to celebrate diversity in all its shapes, sizes and colors, huh?