Friday, May 20, 2022

Misogyny: Illustrated


I was up early this morning looking for an answer to this question:

What is the point of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue?


Jordan Peterson quits Twitter after calling plus-size model Yumi Nu’s SI Swimsuit cover 'not beautiful'

Here is Yumi Nu photograph on the cover of Sports Illustrated:

Here is what Peterson wrote on Twitter:

Sorry. Not beautiful. And no amount of authoritarian tolerance is going to change that.

Apparently he decided to leave Twitter because he didn’t like the pushback he got from his remarks.

Frankly, I don’t care who Peterson is or whether he left Twitter. I care about the continual, toxic judgement of women’s bodies. 

We are bombarded by unsolicited advice and comments about our weight and overall appearance from childhood onwards. Whether on television, from people we know, men on the street, comments on social media, women’s bodies are considered to be fair game. We spend far too much time struggling with these destructive messages. Often, by the time we have reached adulthood, we have internalized them.

Hateful comments like Jordan Peterson’s are almost superfluous because now, almost without thinking, we do it to ourselves. It damages us, it weakens us, and it saps precious energy we could be using to live happy and confident lives. 

What an incredibly successful way to drain women of their power and stymie their pursuit of larger goals. For every woman who has dreams to change the world there is an advert selling her a diet program and a man telling her she is fat and ugly.

Do you know why there is a Sports Illustrated Swimwear Issue?

The swimsuit issue was invented by Sports Illustrated editor Andre Laguerre to fill the winter months, a typically slow point in the sporting calendar.  Wikipedia 

They didn’t have much to talk about during the wintertime so they decided to sell womens’ bodies instead. 

There are certainly other, more sports-centric choices they could have made that would have been more in keeping with the Sports Illustrated brand. Selling scantily-clad women was an easy, lazy choice. And it’s all a part of a culture that objectifies women: sells them, molds them, diminishes them, controls them.

Yumi Nu is on the cover of Sports Illustrated and many people - - notably men - - feel the right to smack that image down, and, not just the image, but also the woman who dared to challenge their notion of female attractiveness. This tweet from a young woman resonated with me:

I felt like maybe I could be acceptable as I am.

There it is, the ugliest of truths. Women are raised to believe that someone else will decide whether they are acceptable and that their worth is dependent on other's judgement. 

A friend once asked one of those start-a-conversation questions on Facebook that went something like this:

What is the most positive life-changing thing that could happened to you?

And I responded:

That I could look in the mirror and be completely happy with what I saw.

If women could lay down the burden of chasing impossible attractiveness, just think of how much we could accomplish. We would be unstoppable.

It’s almost as though somebody out there knows that.

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