Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Media's "empathy" for "shamed" Individuals

 One of the big trends in the news is to feature stories about people who have been insulted by strangers.  I wish I could just talk to the people (all women, so far) who are the protagonist in each of these stories, and just tell them that the take-away of the bad experience of being made fun of (sometimes not even directly, just by overhearing a mean comment) should be not to give a fuck about people like that.  This story is about a plus-size woman who overhears a daughter and mom making fun of a plus size tank top at Old Navy:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/08/living/old-navy-fat-shaming-feat/

Mainstream society is getting BETTER (or at least on TV and in L.A.) about at least attempting to understand different standards of beauty, the fluidity of gender, and deviations from the old "normal" in general.  Or at least that's what I notice.  But a teenaged girl and her mom making fun of big clothes in an Old Navy?  They're not likely to be ambassadors of acceptance and understanding.  Also, they did not know (or at least that's my understanding, from the news coverage) that they were in ear-shot of a plus-size woman.  

I am so happy the woman went to the car to cry it out, because it really does suck to have her feelings hurt.  And I'm happy she went back in the store, tried on that tank top, felt great in it, and bought it.  I wish I could have been teleported to that Old Navy during that mean exchange between the mother and daughter and the sad instance of the woman who overheard their jerkiness.  I would have just told her "Ignore them."

We can't base our self worth so heavily on other people's negative opinions.  I think the news trend of stories of "shaming" is, while not surprising (the news just wants to show the stories people want to hear, and shaming is a big topic of interest right now), this focus on feeling shame because of what other people say or think of you is a dangerous way to ignore the shamee's ability for self-love and bravery.  The antidote for people's judgmental shittiness is self-love, confidence, the ability not to give a fuck about assholes.  And when it's not possible to ignore the harassment or cruelty of an asshole that decides to pick on you, you decide how you want to handle it.  You can confront him or her, if you feel that's going to be cathartic for you.  Or, you can just rest assured that you look wonderful how you are, that you don't need to rely on other people's opinions as a reflection of who you are and what you look like, and you can decide not to let them make you feel ashamed.


this is a photo of me in my 9th grade yearbook, when I was voted "Most Original" by a jury of my peers.  They also voted a "Most Original" boy, but he refused to be in the same picture as me.  The good news was, even though he hurt my feelings, I got the whole photo all to myself. 

No comments:

Post a Comment