Controversy has emerged surrounding the media and the way female public figures are being ‘shamed’ for the shape of their bodies, with notorious public figures of the fashion world such as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Alexa Chung and Gigi Hadid all being slammed by twitter trolls and social media for not ‘conforming’ to social expectations.
I ask myself however, in a time of celebrating femininity, with the likes of Emma Watson speaking up for gender equality on behalf of the UN and campaigns like Nike’s ‘This Girl Can’, how the world still finds it acceptable to label someone according to the size of their waist? Surely we live in a day and age in which the female body, or any body – no matter what shape or size - should be celebrated? This bitchiness and the public degradation of women needs to be long abandoned and replaced with a celebration for who they are, not dependent on whether they are a size 6,16 or 24.
‘‘Surely we live in a day and age in which the female body, or any body – no matter what shape or size - should be celebrated?’’
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini recently spoke out against the recent body shaming which affected her personally.The singer and X factor judge recently responded with a new instagram bio reading;“If you’re a negative person, swerve. You have no place on my page.” Cheryl argued that defining someone by their body shape or calling them out for being too ‘fat’ or ‘skinny’ should be a criminal offence. Despite her suggestion’s lack of realistic application, I am inclined to agree. After all, it is a criminal offence to discriminate against a person depending on their skin colour, sexuality or gender- so why is it still acceptable to put someone in a box and characterise someone for the shape of their bod?
What sort of image do we present to the next generation of young girls, if the only thing we can pinpoint when we watch Cheryl on a Saturday night, or see Alexa on the front row at London Fashion Week is their aesthetic features, rather than their multitude of talents?
Chung and Hadid also recently addressed the issue of body shaming in media giant Vogue, speaking out against those who labelled them as too ‘scrawny’ or, juxtaposing that, too ‘voluptuous’ for major fashion houses.
The models defended themselves - arguing that they are proud of who they are and what they look like, whilst still emphasising that they don’t want to place themselves on a pedestal for young people to idealise them, based solely on their appearance. They are who they are, and have chosen to embrace it. Influential female figures like Florence Nightingale and Maya Angelou all achieved great feats and are recognised for their significance, regardless of their body image. Why then, should the successful, unique, women we come across in every day life be subjected to such scrutiny?
It is time that women adopt an attitude of sisterhood, and stop trying to create an ideal in which women feel obliged to adapt to fit in to a certain box. Whether it’s being ‘thin-shamed’ like Cheryl or ‘fat-shamed’ like Serena Williams (one of the 21st centuries most iconic sportswomen) perhaps what it will take for this confidence crushing bitchiness to stop now is for the Government to enforce some sort of legal sanction against this slander. Failing this, maybe it’s time the media took a stand and adopted a more positive stance when addressing physical appearance, be it male or female, in order to promote a more body positive message, and stop this vile past time once and for all.