Challenge Accepted?

Once again (or maybe as always), there’s a lot of negativity floating around social media today.

I was aware of the “origins” of the black-and-white photo challenge on Instagram before I got my fourth nomination and decided to go ahead and participate, and I say as much in my caption by highlighting the appropriate cause. I put “origins” in quotations because — although a form of the challenge traces itself to an awareness campaign around femicide in Turkey — it has actually taken many forms since 2016 and no one knows for sure where this particular strain of viral, monochrome activity came from.

But setting all that aside for a moment, let’s pretend it really was just about solidarity with women who inspire you. Before women were made aware of additional context, that’s what it was. Is that so wrong? Seems as good a reason as any to post a selfie!

And yet, the communal backlash was almost immediate, as I suspected it might be. There has been no shortage of #womenshamingwomen for posting a photo that made them feel strong or beautiful, and then nominating other women they admire. Plus, nearly every woman in my network who participated promptly promoted the “right” cause as soon as they were made aware of it.

It seems that even now, in all our attempts to be inclusive and “woke,” it’s still not really okay for a woman to love herself. We learned something new and lifted each other up in the process, and to me, that’s a win.

Morning run around the new ‘hood (yes, I ran.) This is not quite the part I live in, though 🙂

Flustered…

Confession: I follow Playboy on Instagram. Of all the “smut” magazines out there, I can handle Playboy and find their shoots sexy and creative. I enjoyed watching “Girls Next Door” and I’m fascinated by the organization from a sociological perspective, too (in both good and bad ways.) I know it’s weird and contradictory…but…. Ugh. So, sue me.

Now that that’s out of the way… I was scrolling through my feed when I noticed the following post:

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I got pretty excited, because it’s not often you see a fair-skinned beauty featured in Playboy.

But then, I noticed the comments.  I know there are always going to be haters and your occasional obnoxious remark, but the comments directed at Miss Kassielyn were almost exclusively critical…and hateful.  I seriously couldn’t believe my eyes.

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Now, anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I’ve dealt with major insecurities for being skinny and pale, and that I can’t really help either. Both are genetic. I’ve been taunted for both, and called unattractive for both – more or less subtly.  Just as I smiled with happiness that a different kind of sexy was gracing the Playboy name (more associated with curves and golden glows), I got that old pit in my stomach that I get when I feel unattractive and inadequate.

I realize I shouldn’t put so much emphasis on physical appearance, but our culture is saturated with it (as are most cultures, with varying definitions of beauty.) We all have a particular standard of “sexy” shoved down our throats – it’s unavoidable, and of course, very few of us match.

I also recognize the danger of the “thinspo” subculture and am definitely not trying to promote any one body type over another, but it’s discouraging to watch my type get virtually trampled under everyone’s smartphone-wielding finger-feet… especially since I am healthy and not doing anything wrong. And it’s certainly not the first time!

I was seriously about to email the screenshot of the model to Chuck and say “It’s good to see a pale girl in Playboy!” before I saw that apparently, it is still considered ugly or gross to be pale and skinny after all…

And for the record, I am aware how silly this may sound (normally, it’s good to see a curvy model in most magazines, etc), but it just goes to show you how there are always two sides to every coin. If people could only think twice about being so critical!