Stating the obvious here, but there’s a narrow societal spectrum for what a woman’s body should look like and for how she should feel about that. (I’ll leave the myriad causes for that aside because that’s a whole other encyclopedia). On one side of the spectrum is perfection, in the middle is average/normal/compliant/conformist/passing and on the other end not making the grade but having the decency to at least try to fit in or acknowledge your failure/shortcoming. It’s no secret that this standard does more harm than good to women (especially young women and girls) and to their physical and mental well-being.
Which brings me to Beth Ditto. Most of the negative comments I’ve seen about Ditto, her body, her size and her propensity for flaunting it, usually fall into two camps. The flat-out “That’s disgusting. WTF is wrong with her?” and the “What about her health? She’s advocating bad health.” I find it worth noting they almost always have a blaming/shaming component, focusing on a failure on Ditto’s part, rather than simply stating the commenter’s opinion.
It’s my guess that we’re going to be seeing a lot of that as people react to her nude cover portrait on the new NME.
This is really about power. And as usual, I say more power to Ditto. More power to any woman who celebrates her power, her sexuality, her body as is and herself as she is.
And I challenge those who disagree to show me how and why Ditto’s message is a threat, compared to the effects of the constant, overwhelming prescriptive standards for physical perfection forced upon women by the majority society/culture/media. Which is doing the most harm?