Tell Britney to eat something!It’s been awhile since we’ve worked up some righteous feminist anger, girls. Check this out. A reporter at the Newcastle Herald inspired a protest recently with his column about his distaste for “belly blubber” (i.e. girls heavier than Britney Spears that dare to expose their midriffs). Look, I’m no skinny minnie (yet) and I certainly don’t go around flaunting my stomach. In fact, I think it looks ridiculous on most people. But how in the world can you read something like “At an age when girls should be striving to be pleasing to the eye, the male eye, these young women were going to serious lengths to expose an acre of wobbling excess. Haven’t they looked in the mirror?” and not see red? What an ass. He sounds like such a troll, he probably shouldn’t even be dignified with a response. That said, I love this photo of one of the protestors. How great is that? I’m making that my new tagline.

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  1. Well, with my screwed-up body image issues, I’m hardly the one to comment rationally on this story, but I won’t let that stop me. 🙂

    I’m actually of two minds about this–on one hand, good for girls (and boys) of any shape who are 100% happy with their bodies. Lord knows I’d love to know what THAT feels like. On the other hand, I see a lot of this so-called “belly blubber” every day at work (no, silly, not on the faculty–on students), along with “belly non-blubber” on the scores of underweight students around here. Basically, I see a lot of belly, thanks to shirts that are cut to rise up when the girl so much as shrugs her shoulders. I think it’s just kinda icky either way. Instead of being a “fat vs. skinny” issue, I think it should really be an issue of decorum and modesty. I think I’m just anti-midriff on casual clothes all the way, regardless of the wearer’s fitness.

    (Great link, Kris–I’m actually using this article in class today for our discussion of Emerson’s views on nonconformity!)

  2. I’m curious to see what this asshole columnist looks like. I’ll bet five dollars he’s overweight and not that pleasant to gaze upon.

  3. the part that particularly chaps my XX ass was the very quote that you referenced: “At an age when girls should be striving to be pleasing to the eye, the male eye…”

    right, because we girls/women shouldn’t be bothered with excelling both in the classroom and on the playing field, the formation of genuine relationships with both boys/men and other girls/women while working out the kinks in our relationships with our parents, personal development, formation of self, and generally trying to survive adolescence/adulthood without suffering or causing too much damage. because as we all—including this “columnist”—know, our value as individuals is wholly determined by how members of the opposite sex view us…the external part of us, that is. </sarcasm>

    i am really blessed in the fact that i’ve never had to struggle without any serious body images. i don’t know if it’s a matter of having been/being surrounded by physically and psychically healthy women, wise to the fantastic fallacy that is the Hollywood beauty standard, or just oblivious… but i’m far from oblivious to the fact that so many people—women and men—are prevented from living a fuller, happier life because of how they perceive themselves.

    being healthy—mind, body and soul—is more important that being a size 6 (or 8 or 10…). methinks this guy should focus on how ugly he is on the inside and work neutralizing the vitriol that fueled his article before commenting on the world around him.

    as for the midriff issue, i’m totally with Max. unfortunately the “Less is More” lesson doesn’t typically sink in until after we’ve moved on from the Juniors section of the department store.

  4. Ah, but Moire, no one cares if a man is overweight; only heavy women are offensive. 😉

    This one didn’t really make me angry, perhaps because that guy was so beyond the pale, he made himself ridiculous.

    The photo is great, although of all of the midriff baring young pop stars out there, Britney is probably the healthiest looking.

    Whenever I see an exposed midriff that might have a bit of a belly, I always think how brave and free of body issues the woman is.

  5. Just a quick (and perhaps disheartening) update: the majority of my students–male and female–agreed with the anti-belly editorial writer.

    Me: “But would you want a big-bellied guy to cover up his stomach if it was showing?”
    Response (male student): “It’s funny when it’s a big beer belly on some redneck guy. On a girl it’s just gross.”

    Me: “Shouldn’t we be glad for girls who don’t stress about their bodies and really like themselves?”
    Response (female student): “Who cares what they think–they only have to see that belly when they look in a mirror. We have to look at it a lot more than they do, and it’s gross.”

    Oh, well–remember, they are only 16 years old.

  6. I’m anti-midriff as well, just because I think that fad peaked during the Clueless era ten years ago. It’s not attractive and it makes you – no matter how skinny – look like a hoochie.

    You know, the public schools here in Sydney all seem to have uniforms, and I’m starting to see the wisdom of it. I spent way, WAY too much time during my adolescence concentrating on wearing the right thing and pegging my pants in the correct manner. I can’t imagine what high school is like these days, Max. How can a girl expect to have her opinions on transcendentalism taken seriously when everyone just stares at her bare stomach?

    Like Brigita, my main problem with the article was the guy’s tone. This goes back to an issue I have, where men automatically assume that women always dress for them. NEWSFLASH: That isn’t true. If I wear a skirt, it isn’t for you. If I wear a low-cut top, it isn’t for you. (Now in Britney’s case, it probably is for you.) I’m not in school anymore, and I’m not looking for a partner. Why in the world should I care what men think? And this guy is trying to shove us all back into the junior high mentality just to his perving sessions aren’t interrupted by somebody he finds unattractive. Ass.

  7. I’ve also come to the conclusion that school uniforms are a Good Thing. I was constantly miserable throughout school, because my family couldn’t afford to buy me Umbros, and Addidas, and L.A. Gear, and Hypercolor, and Banana Republic, and Gap. Hell, half of my clothes came from the Salvation Army, and the other half from Wal-Mart, and all my shoes were those $1 canvas Keds-wannabes, so you can imagine my complete and utter shame. If only we had school uniforms, perhaps some of my discomfort would’ve been alleviated…

    Sigh. Clothes do not make the Man, I know. I still would’ve been a geek. 🙂

    Oh, and I hate belly shirts. Yeah, we women should be able to wear what we want and not have to worry about being verbally attacked in the street for it, but you’re right: It’s hard to take someone seriously when they’re dressed for the beach and not the classroom. The same goes for men, too.

  8. well, it seems someone has issues.

  9. Closing, I’d like to point out the differences between “your/you’re” and “to/too”. We may be chubby but at least we’re not illiterate, you skanky troglodyte.

  10. Are you tired now? It’s “I’m”, “sane”, “ladies”, “she’s”, and “you.” Trolls are ever so much more effective when they look like they have an above-third grade reading level. The whole issue is moot though, because you appear to be some sort of “organized harasser”. I’m sorry I took the bait and I’m going to delete your comments and ban you from the site. Go have your fun elsewhere.

  11. bare midriffs are sexy –fact — but only if you wear it to be sexy and not just because it’s in fashion or that its anice day

  12. Fact? I don’t recall seeing that one in the Almanac.

  13. I think anything that shows off someone’s shape, no matter what type of shape it is, is cool. Nobody’s forcing anyone to have sex with anyone a person doesn’t find attractive. There are so many different preferences around–no matter what someone looks like, there is always someone else that will find that person sexually arousing. Even let the guys go bare midriff–whatever shape or build.

    If you don’t like bare midriff, don’t bare your midriff. If you’re not attracted to people who walk around with bare midriff, look for someone who doesn’t have it. Plain and simple.

  14. Nobody’s disagreeing with you, kih-zoom. The problem is asshole journalists who feel that they get to decide who’s sexy enough to wear certain clothes.

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