Career Magazine

Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Belly?

Posted on the 30 November 2011 by Fcarletti
Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?

By Brittney Sabo

Yesterday I admired 75 different women’s bellies. They were plump, lean, scarred, furry, wrinkled, smooth, freckled and all photoshop-free.

As I went through the gallery, it struck me that I could hardly think of positive image of bare stomach fat in mainstream media. Lizzie Miller’s photo shoot for Glamour magazine, which accompanied an article about body confidence, generated the kind of stunned fascination that a Sasquatch riding a unicorn might.

The magazine editor received a barrage of emails reacting to the image, and as Miller herself remarked in the Guardian, “the overwhelming reaction to the tiny photograph, buried on page 194 of Glamour magazine ‘shows that the world is hungry to see pictures of normal women.’”

I certainly was. My 75-belly experience began when I saw the following image on Pinterest.com, then clicked through to see photos and captions that celebrated women’s bellies — regardless of whether or not they would be considered attractive by mainstream standards — on xojane’s real girl belly project.

Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?

"I love my little 'pooch' that is my belly. So cute, I named it sunshine." -- Sabrina, Age 19 (xojane.com)

It was refreshing to see something like this on Pinterest, which sometimes feels like a bastion of “thinspiration” and body-shaming.

Pinterest, in case you’ve never heard of it, is an online pinboard that allows users (“pinners”) to organize and share things that they like. Relative to the general internet population, women are greatly over-represented at pinterest.com, and the vast majority are 18 – 34 years old, according to Alexa stats. All pinners have their own boards, but there are also community boards that aggregate everyone’s pins into public galleries.

It’s a very visual platform, and it’s easy to see that whether people are pinning photographs or quotations, crafts or cars, they’re most often showcasing what they consider beautiful.

Perhaps predictably then, women’s bodies have become something of a battleground, with some posting quotations like “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” while others fire back “b*tch please, have you ever tasted nutella?”

In this context, some pinners reacted to the above photo of Sabrina’s tummy like this:

Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?
Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?
Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?
But others responded this way:

Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?

Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?
If you’re interested in the whole thread and the range of reactions, you can read it here, but suffice it to say some people were thoughtful while others responded by skinny-bashing or implying that one type of body is better than the rest — and the latter didn’t sit well with me.

As I remarked in the thread, I think it’s important that we see the beauty in diversity, and stop being so patronizing toward other women.

I, for one, felt happy and grateful after viewing the gallery. I was especially grateful to the women that wrote things that are sometimes hard to admit (like saying they’d never had a good look at their own bellies, or that they found it really hard to take a picture without automatically sucking it in, or that it took time to embrace their saggy skin and scars.) I don’t think anyone mentioned male approval. The experience was refreshing and more unvarnished than any advertiser-mediated Dove ad could ever be.

Although I hope we all strive to be healthy, this may or may not mean we’re skinny and blemish-free. And health is not just physical — we must constantly work on having healthy psyches and recognizing junk images just as we do junk food.

The tummy thread was a reminder that we all need to strive for and promote a more well-rounded appreciation of all the things that make women beautiful, and much more than that!

There’s more to life than wanting to be wanted. (That last link was to a great book on the topic.) Why don’t we spend more time discussing what makes us interesting, intelligent, influential, courageous, funny, kind, quirky, or unique?

In this spirit, here are a few words and images that help combat all the ugly things that are shared on pinterest under the guise of promoting beauty.

I hope to endorse the radical notion that we should spend more time celebrating (and less time shaming!) ourselves and others.

Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?

Source: curvygirlrevolution.com via Luna on Pinterest

Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?

Source: google.com.eg via Mona on Pinterest

Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?
(Please, forgive the typos in that one! Also, I wish we saw more faces.)

Source: Uploaded by user via Phoebe on Pinterest

Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?

Source: 25.media.tumblr.com via Phoebe on Pinterest

Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?

Source: beautyredefined.net via Frieda on Pinterest

Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?

Source: sodahead.com via Nicole on Pinterest

Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?

Source: pippyohara.tumblr.com via Fabiola on Pinterest

Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?

Who’s afraid of the big, bad belly?

Source: favoritethingsforever.tumblr.com via Bramilee on Pinterest


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Who's That...New Girl

    Who's That...New Girl

    Last night saw the first episode of the latest American export: New Girl, on Channel 4. With oodles of advertising on both Channel 4 and E4, it was difficult... Read more

    By  Kittyfairy
    ENTERTAINMENT, TV & VIDEO
  • CSI: NY 8x11: Who's There?

    CSI: 8x11: Who's There?

    Original Air Date: 13 January 2012Storyline: A home invasion investigation becomes more complicated when the victim's family turns out to be less perfect than... Read more

    By  Tvgeek
    ENTERTAINMENT, TV & VIDEO
  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner [1967]

    Guess Who's Coming Dinner [1967]

    Written by William Rose and directed by Stanley Kramer, this 1967 classic tells the story of a couple who have to break the news of their future wedding to thei... Read more

    By  Diana
    ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    Who's Afraid Virginia Woolf?

    An aging alcoholic college professor and his bitter wife return to their campus home late one night, where they still plan to have the new strapping science... Read more

    By  Kaiser31083
    ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES
  • For Every Catholic Priest Who's Stained the Priesthood...

    Every Catholic Priest Who's Stained Priesthood...

    ... there are likely many like Fr. Tom Kraft who've gone about quietly fulfilling their call to God's service: On January 11, 2009, we went to Noon Mass at... Read more

    By  Brutallyhonest
    SOCIETY
  • Three Ways to Publicise an Edinburgh Fringe Show Without Using a PR Person

    Three Ways Publicise Edinburgh Fringe Show Without Using Person

    No 1: THE LEWIS SCHAFFER PRESS RELEASEJewish comic recommended by a PalestinianA fortnight ago, Lewis Schaffer sent out a press release:“New York Jewish comic... Read more

    By  Thejohnfleming
    CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT
  • Throw the Confetti! We’re MOVING To…

    Throw Confetti! We’re MOVING

    You GUYS. I’ve been keeping a huge secret from all of you. Over the past couple of months, we’ve been working on some changes behind the scenes. Read more

    By  Thesamanthashow
    LIFESTYLE, SELF EXPRESSION