No women were harmed during the shooting of this magazine cover

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?


5 Responses

  1. Have you seen Leonard Nimoy’s latest series? (Yes, *that* Leonard Nimoy.)

    He’s been criticized for being “exploitive.” I don’t know that I agree with that; but I think his photography is (mostly) prosaic.

    Good for Ditto and good for NME. They’re both gonna get hell for that cover.

    And to hell with the critics.


  2. Those photos are NOT exploitative. I’ll bet my mortgage payment (damn, I have to make that today) those people realized, and no doubt legally consented to, the fact that these photographs were going to be made public.

    My guess is that those claiming Nimoy is exploiting the models are employing the “fat people are retarded” (because they’re fat) meme and don’t think the models understand how they are seen through the gaze of “the other.”

    Trust me, we understand it.

    All that said, I agree they are kind of prosaic. Like a lot of other similar works, it seems once he transgressed the basic taboo, he didn’t try going any further. Nothing “pops.”

  3. Nothing “pops.”



  4. This is another example of you are my hero.

  5. Shucks, I thought it was because of my spelling prowess….

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