Talk show host Wendy Williams was recently quoted as saying she would love to see full-figured Adele naked in a PETA advertisement (whose images of naked women have somehow not convinced me to stop eating chicken). Here is Willimas’ quote (read the full article at the Huffington Post):
“I would like to see Adele naked,” Williams said. “As a woman of a particular size myself, there is no hating on skinny girls, but there is nothing interesting about their bodies. I think for women, curves and softness is what separates men from women. Three cheers for girls that are built like fifth grade boys, but there is something to be said for womanly women.”
Um, exsqueeze my bony ass?
Williams’ “no hating on skinny girls” is immediately followed by the arguably hateful “there is nothing interesting about their bodies” and “three cheers for girls that are built like fifth grade boys.”
Kind of like, “No offense, but you’re an asshole.”
Imma try this on you, Wendy:
“As a woman of a particular size myself, there is no hating on full-figured girls, but there is nothing attractive about their bodies. … Three cheers for girls that are built like Williams, but there’s something to be said for physically fit women.”
Now, of course, we all know that “thin” does not equate to “fit” or even “healthy” – crackheads, heroin addicts, and meth-heads are extraordinarily thin, but I wouldn’t want to follow their diet regimen – but I had to come up with something to go up against Williams’ idea of what makes a woman a “woman.” And apparently, that thing is more weight.
I recognize that over the years (decades) it’s been a kind of free-for-all on larger people. The media – to include news, television shows, radio bits, and movies – are very comfortable mocking them. There is no skinny equivalent of the Melissa McCarthy role in “Bridesmaids” unless you count Kramer from “Seinfeld,” but I never got the impression that his physical humor relied on his physique as much as it did on his mannerisms. Newman, with his build, could have played the same role. McCarthy in “Bridesmaids,” on the other hand, often made her weight the joke.
It’s been heartening to see heavier people fighting back. I was happy about the Dove commercials featuring women of different sizes. Thrilled to see all the reveals of Photoshopped images on magazine covers (and doubly thrilled when actresses whose bodies were “edited” spoke out about it).
But what hasn’t been as uplifting is the backlash on thin women. Far from the freeing and accepting “Women come in all shapes and sizes,” the message is shifting to an attack on the little ‘uns: “The only real women are the ones who aren’t thin!”
This is a counterproductive stance. It succeeds only in dividing women further (and do we really need any help in that area?). Rather than defending, and highlighting the beauty of, the fuller figure in general, it builds a wall between women of different shapes.
Granted, this insult-hurling is probably something thinner women have been doing to fuller women for some time – along with everyone else. But if the goal is to encourage acceptance of women of all sizes, shouldn’t the focus instead be on … well … the acceptance of women of all sizes?
I’ve never had anything against fuller-figured women (or bigger people in general), so when someone like Williams says very publicly that I, a petite woman, am built like a “fifth grade boy” – and, by the way, some men will also refer to thinner women as being built like boys, so I know it’s not just women who are guilty of this – I’m not sure how to take it.
Should I feel apologetic for being thin? For preferring how I look with less weight than I do with more? For eating a fairly balanced diet, exercising three (okay, two) times a week and rationing my cheesecake intake in an effort to maintain the size I feel works best on me?
Should I suck it up and take the “You look like a boy!!” insults because, hell, thin women have been on top for years and it’s our turn to take the abuse?
I guess I could. But I won’t. Reverse discrimination is still discrimination, and I, like anyone else, don’t take kindly to being insulted. Why would I? Because of my weight?
Wouldn’t it be nicer if acceptance of one’s own appearance could occur without the shaming of another’s? At least in the world of grownups, which includes Wendy Williams?