A Cosplay Defense of Skinny Girls

A Cosplay Defense of Skinny Girls

With all the kerfuffle about Rey being skinnier than a battle droid in Star Wars The Force Awakens, and the ongoing complaints that the latest Wonder Woman is built more like a super model than an Amazon warrior, we've crossed into the realm of body shaming skinny women in sci-fi.

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Women have it tough. Seems like bodies of every size and shape are criticized for one thing or another. Wasn't there another escapist cosplay article talking about how more shapely women are criticized for having large breasts?

Yeah...we live in a messed up world where women keep getting shamed for body types.

Oh boy, another gender-themed article. For a news avenue that claims to have blinders on with regards to male/female representation, the Escapist sure does seem to go out of its way to talk about Women In Gaming.

And Im not saying that's a bad thing. But I kind of am, too. Articles about shaming women are not going to stop the people who shame women. Articles about the trolls on the male side of Women In Gaming, are not going to all of a sudden cause those people to realize that they're treating other humans badly. (And make no mistake, there are trolls on BOTH sides. For ever dumbass male hurr-hurring his way through another "wiminz in mah gaming" statement, there is a person who is tripping all over themselves in a mad dash to be as offended as humanly possible at anything.)

I believe with all of my heart, that the vast majority of women do not want attention called to their womanhood. In either a positive, or negative light. Ive been pleading for years, for the Escapist to stop pretending to be "equal", when it is very clear that the site favors women's stories over men's. I'm not personally offended, nor do I feel my "rights" are being threatened... Its simply a matter of integrity. Say what you mean, mean what you say.

Women, no matter their size, sexual orientation, hobbies, creed, religion, whatever they choose to be identified as... Women are equal in every single possible way. Nothing more really needs to be said. (If someone doesn't believe this already, you are unlikely to communicate it to them with a "Some of you need to stop shaming" article.)

...

I'm actually thinking that Gal Gadot has the right charisma for Wonder Woman at this point, body aside. I liked her grit in the trailers I've seen so far. I mean, Gina Carrano might have the right body, but I dunno how good an actor she is. I haven't seen the woman that looks like Frank Cho's version in real life, either, though.

I think I liked Alex Ross's Wonder Woman imagery the best, but that's a little like saying I think I like Cezanne's impressionist landscape paintings the best.

I don't like Rey as a character but...SHE LIVES IN A FUCKING DESERT WORLD! You be fat in a desert, I dare you. Seriously cant imagine food is abundant, especially since in the movie she has to scavenge for a living that she seems to constantly get underpaid for.

As for Wonder Woman, its more an issue of character accuracy. Hating black Human Torch isn't racism, its character accuracy. Just as hating sewn mouth Deadpool isn't a jab at people with sewn mouths which are certainly under-represented minority. Only Hocus Pocus comes to mind on that issue.

My issue with feminism is I feel like many feminists fight sexism with sexism...against men AND women. Its like when gay people hate other gay people for "acting gay". Or black people hating black people for acting or not acting "black".

A small pedantic note here, it was "heroin chic", as in the drug that suppresses appetite and leaves users looking skeletal.

Which of course was something promoted by the ever-jaded fashion industry, inspired by the trendiness of the drug, rather than a generally accepted ideal of the female figure. It's an industry that's focused on the novel and the striking, rather than "the beautiful". And at the time, a tragic fantasy of decay was the novel counterpoint to previous "empowering" trends. Those were "so 80s".

There are a lot of Dove and other beauty product adverts now claiming to test their products on "real women" (i.e curvier women - because thin people are fictional women I guess?) It's a shame how we now get situations where thin people get the blame for bad industry standards created by advertising and the media.

This also comes right off the back of people starting to accuse Olivia Munn of "appropriating nerd culture" - looks like we are getting back around to fake nerd girl accusations after a few years dormancy.

mythgraven:
And Im not saying that's a bad thing. But I kind of am, too. Articles about shaming women are not going to stop the people who shame women. Articles about the trolls on the male side of Women In Gaming, are not going to all of a sudden cause those people to realize that they're treating other humans badly. (And make no mistake, there are trolls on BOTH sides. For ever dumbass male hurr-hurring his way through another "wiminz in mah gaming" statement, there is a person who is tripping all over themselves in a mad dash to be as offended as humanly possible at anything.)....I'm not personally offended, nor do I feel my "rights" are being threatened... Its simply a matter of integrity. Say what you mean, mean what you say.

Articles about earthquakes don't stop earthquakes, so no one should write about earthquakes.

I also support the recommendation that editors count all the articles on the Escapist, to make sure there are an equal number of articles about men and women. Current news be damned, speaking more often about women's rights must be banned.

[/sarcasm]

Solkard:
Women have it tough. Seems like bodies of every size and shape are criticized for one thing or another. Wasn't there another escapist cosplay article talking about how more shapely women are criticized for having large breasts?

Red's talked about that in this series earlier, specifically about comments that have been directed at her over the years. The running theme of this series is basically, "People have varying amounts of flesh on their skeletons, and varying kinds of clothes overtop that flesh. Try not to be a dick about either covering."

OT:

Liana Kerzner:
According to a loud portion of the internet, Daisy Ridley is supposed to a) just eat shit whenever someone sends her something hurtful, and b) do a complete background check of every person who sends her body shaming content on Instagram before she tells them that the material they're sending her is rude. It's unfortunate that a mentally disabled teenager had the internet unleashed on her because of the media focus on this story, but that being said, I don't think Daisy Ridley deserves to be painted as some sort of internet bully here... In fact, I give Ridley credit for continuing to check her own Instagram account based on the sheer amount of horrendously unfair nastiness I've seen directed at her character. When people send you that kind of stuff, no matter how much you try to rationalize it, it hurts.

While I agree with the points being made here, they also reveal another point- this abuse is happening to Ridley continually. She's presumably grown a thick skin towards it, but she still struck back in this case, and it turns out this was precisely the wrong case; instead of hitting any one of the hundreds of jerks, she hit a mentally deficient teenage fan. Having never been the target of such harassment, I don't know why this irked her so or if this was just the straw that broke the camel's back, but it does show that discretion is the better part of valour. Had she taken even a cursory glance at the girl's profile (not knowing Instagram, I assume that it's relatively easy to access) she would see that this was not a target she should highlight for her own followers. In essence, I'm saying that while her actions were totally understandable, they were still wrong and hurtful, and demonstrated that she was lacking a suitable amount of caution before doing something which she knew was likely to be a headline on the gossip rags.

Just because someone has a different body shape than you doesn't mean you should pick on them.

maninahat:
There are a lot of Dove and other beauty product adverts now claiming to test their products on "real women" (i.e curvier women - because thin people are fictional women I guess?) It's a shame how we now get situations where thin people get the blame for bad industry standards created by advertising and the media.

I think the big deal about this is that a lot of advertisements for beauty products literally could not find a living human being that was beautiful enough for their ads, so went the route of extremely heavily photoshopping their models post-production to the extent that even the models in question were pushing back against the practice. It's not that thin women aren't real, just that the actual women photographed for the ads didn't even look like what was being shown many times. And then of course marketers realized that the 'real woman' concept resonated with people, so ran with it in directions that make sense to marketers.

As far as shaming thin women are concerned, it's a push-back against the truly massive and disgusting amount of fat shaming that goes on, and like most push-backs it oftentimes goes too far and becomes as harmful and absurd as what it's pushing against. I don't think very many people truly think that it's bad to be naturally thin as long as you're healthy, but internet outrage culture being what it is, you don't get headlines with reasonable response and discourse. So people go to the extreme and end up destroying their own point behind their antics.

erttheking:
Yeah...we live in a messed up world where women keep getting shamed for body types.

Yep. Reproductive imperatives still govern a lot of human thought process. Mate selection is fundamentally a competition and this by nature puts women at odds with each other in the realm of beauty and human aesthetics. Larger curvy women have a vested interest in redefining societal beauty standards as it helps them have a more competitive edge in mate selection. This almost consequentially will mean that skinnier women will not be considered as attractive. Someone is SOL here regardless and if they want to be competitive in the area of sex and relationships they need to either cultivate attractive skills or conform to a more generally pleasing body image or as close as they possibly can. Whether it be skinny or fat people, one or the other is going to be considered more attractive ultimately, and the other will feel marginalized because of it.

Problem is I'm pretty sure a lot of body shaming is enforced by both genders, but I'd argue that fat shaming is done as much to men as to women, while skinny shaming is usually done to males via accusations of being a nerd. Really, everyone is criticized all the time.

Agree with the sentiment of the article, however two points at the end I disagree with:

Directors don't cast movies of Batman vs Superman size, that's why you'll see a whole list of casting agents in the credits, something of this backing there'll be producers interfering in choice too.

Suckerpunch is a feminist movie, really, have you actually watched it or just saw the marketing, as that's where the title becomes relevant, it's a brilliantly done piece of work in that regard "suckering in" men with promise of titillation and explosions to then show them how hard it is to be a woman in a world controlled by men - every man in that movie is portrayed as an asshole of the lowest kind and the ending

inu-kun:
Problem is I'm pretty sure a lot of body shaming is enforced by both genders, but I'd argue that fat shaming is done as much to men as to women, while skinny shaming is usually done to males via accusations of being a nerd. Really, everyone is criticized all the time.

As a male, I feel I can at least address a minor part of that.

When it comes to female beauty ideals, they seem to be created entirely without input from the male populace. No male in his right mind wanted women to look like those walking "climbing walls" that parade on those fashion shows, and yet I'm being told that, that's aparantly what women are told they should look like (by who, I've no idea, but they clearly don't posses the mental faculties to determine how people should look). As for "fat" shaming. Well if we're talking about the typical, mildly overweight, woman, then I agree, fat shaming is bad. However if we're talking about someone who are borderline, morbidly obese, then that person clearly have an issue, and should stop scoffing down cheeseburgers.

EDIT:

I just want to clarify.

It seems the normal people (from, just skinny, to, slightly overweight) are tarnished by extremes on both sides (sickly thin "fashion models", to grotesquely fat tubs of lard weighing in at 300kg).

What the hell kind of bizarro world am I living in? I understand the idea of "fat acceptance", which really boils down to "don't be a dick" and not insulting people and making them feel bad, which is the kind of golden rule that should be followed about all things.

But now we're talking about "skinny kerfuffles", and to be fair I've not read one word about Rey being too skinny, and skinny shaming?

This is why I don't engage in this kind of body politics stuff.

JUMBO PALACE:
Just because someone has a different body shape than you doesn't mean you should pick on them.

Sometimes people do it because of jealousy. Sometimes making a person feel bad is the only way others can feel good about themselves.

Nobody, not even Lena Dunham, wants to see Lena Dunham's body, naked or otherwise. How do I know this? Because she doesn't even recognize her own body.

http://www.eonline.com/news/744866/lena-dunham-accuses-tentaciones-of-photoshopping-her-cover-this-is-not-what-my-body-has-ever-looked-like

Out of curiosity, apart from a small subset of trolls, do any guys out there actually care about body shape and cosplay(Obviously ignoring the fat guy in the sailor fuku)? Or is it primarily women rehashing the whole fashion competition thing that was so prevalent in high school that even I noticed it?

...

Rey is skinny? Sure, she's slim, but I wouldn't call her skinny. She looks perfectly healthy to me, and was I in the bathroom when people were complaining about it?

I dunno. Maybe it's all the random cloth that she for some reason drapes all over herself (that looks pretty fucking hot, Rey. You might wanna not layer your clothing in the desert), but even looking at her out of costume, at most Daisy Ridley has thinner than average hips. Everything else looks normal.

ravenshrike:
Out of curiosity, apart from a small subset of trolls, do any guys out there actually care about body shape and cosplay(Obviously ignoring the fat guy in the sailor fuku)? Or is it primarily women rehashing the whole fashion competition thing that was so prevalent in high school that even I noticed it?

To be entirely honest with you, the majority of people judging others for their appearance are women themselves in my experience, call it "toxic femininity" if you feel especially inflammatory, if you wish. ;)

Personally, as a nurse, my only concern for someone's appearance is their health, there's quite a bit of lee-way you can afford away from the "Physical ideal" and still be healthy, happy and good looking.
If there is a specific you want to look you're gonna have to work hard for it, proper diet and exercise, and if you end up looking like a sculpted Olympian from legends old I will applaud that level of discipline, lord knows I don't have it.

I'm wondering exactly who is doing all this body shaming? Most men's opinion on women's body appearance is either "I would" or "I wouldn't", so I'm guessing it's mostly other women who are commenting so much?

Sampler:
Agree with the sentiment of the article, however two points at the end I disagree with:

Directors don't cast movies of Batman vs Superman size, that's why you'll see a whole list of casting agents in the credits, something of this backing there'll be producers interfering in choice too.

Suckerpunch is a feminist movie, really, have you actually watched it or just saw the marketing, as that's where the title becomes relevant, it's a brilliantly done piece of work in that regard "suckering in" men with promise of titillation and explosions to then show them how hard it is to be a woman in a world controlled by men - every man in that movie is portrayed as an asshole of the lowest kind and the ending

I remembered when MovieBob gushed over Sucker Punch as well, then redefended his position in a separate article after the movie was both panned by critics and bombed at the box office. (I wonder if he still would, given the more time).

Literally the only people I've seen who have really liked it (outside of the action sequences, which were decent at least) are men claiming a feminist position. Its imagery and symbolism and metaphors are about as subtle as a freight train. Subtext is supposed to stay beneath the surface to an extent. It felt to me like a 13 year old's idea of what a feminist "oppression movie" is like, with all their favorite cartoon characters inserted. Yeah, a 50s mental asylum was like a brothel or... something and somehow the head orderly has the right to shoot people in the fucking head because male supremacy, right? Throw in a complete misunderstand and misuse of the male gaze, and it's like, perfectly juvenile.

But that's just like, my opinion, man.

As for being on topic... I don't really think thin shaming is really the biggest problem with the nerd world right now. Sure, people criticizing Ridley when her character lives in a desert is a little dumb. I was hoping Wonder Woman was more muscular, but she along with everyone else has powers far and away from what their physique suggests, so eh. It could be a lot worse than what it is, I guess, you take the wins where you get them.

Being skinny isn't something that needs to be defended. People should be praised for working for that body type (provided it's not full anorexic) rather than engaging in gluttony.

The Material Sheep:

erttheking:
Yeah...we live in a messed up world where women keep getting shamed for body types.

Yep. Reproductive imperatives still govern a lot of human thought process. Mate selection is fundamentally a competition and this by nature puts women at odds with each other in the realm of beauty and human aesthetics. Larger curvy women have a vested interest in redefining societal beauty standards as it helps them have a more competitive edge in mate selection. This almost consequentially will mean that skinnier women will not be considered as attractive. Someone is SOL here regardless and if they want to be competitive in the area of sex and relationships they need to either cultivate attractive skills or conform to a more generally pleasing body image or as close as they possibly can. Whether it be skinny or fat people, one or the other is going to be considered more attractive ultimately, and the other will feel marginalized because of it.

I can barely hear you over all the cynicism.

infohippie:
I'm wondering exactly who is doing all this body shaming? Most men's opinion on women's body appearance is either "I would" or "I wouldn't", so I'm guessing it's mostly other women who are commenting so much?

Pretty much, look at the front cover of most womens magazines. Guys penis..ez like what they like, it is like you say as simple as yes i would, no i wouldnt. Skinny shaming now lol nothing is good enough is it.

 

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