I don’t know how far back the movement goes, but I have only been exposed to it over the last year or so. The hashtag, that I see more on Instagram than anywhere of #effyourbeautystandards is perhaps a positive move, and it’s a polite way to get a message across. A message that says “don’t body shame me, just because I am a different shape”, but since when did being nice about something that has made you feel so awful ever worked?
It’s a niggling issue of mine, that this movement, and hashtag are censored, to remove the forceful retort of “you know what, you little shit, I may be big, but at least I’m not a fucking asshole like you!” That’s essentially what is trying to be conveyed, although in a twisted sense, because from what I can gather, the leader of the pack tends to try and shame people who are smaller, and thus just do more harm to the ideas of distorted body image than anything.
Not only that, but the force behind the movement is diligently coiffed, manicured and presented without flaw, having full teams behind them, adding those finishing touches to be presented to the world. This, in reality, is not the norm. There’s still the struggle for bigger people to find nice, stylish clothes, although it’s easier than it once was, and we’ve not all got a few hours to sit in hair and make-up before our photo is taken.
No, truly to “fuck your beauty standards”, the image presented should be one that is also unfinished, or at least handmade, rather than factory assembled. I’m not saying that every image should be make up free, high-street styled, but a certain portion of what is there, should be more realistic. Not shot on a camera, processed and filtered, before being uploaded.
I am one for putting filters on my post, purely to bring out the colours, rather than alter them greatly. I am, who I am, and that is somewhat outspoken about my body and the issues I have with it. I don’t always think I look 100%, and often have minor “fanny fits” about the way my hair is whilst it’s mid-transition from stupid-barber-not-listenin-to-me, to fuck-it-I’ll-do-it-myself. But I won’t censor myself on what I’d want to say about my body.
In school, yes I was bullied, one for being the only really out and obvious gay boy, but also for being a bit fat – although not the fattest person around. I took that for three or four years until one day, the bully just pushed that little too far, put himself in an empty classroom with me, and the rest, is him quivering on the stairwell with his friends I got that angry. I’m sure looking at the situation, you’d have been waiting for me to start levitating and the furniture around me doing the same – I was possessed that day.
But nevertheless, I don’t take things lying down, and would I censor myself to get my message across? You see, this whole hashtag is redundant if it doesn’t have the gravitas behind it. If it’s meek and mild, it will produce a meek and mild response of a few pats on the back. But really, what you want, or what we need as shamed individuals, is for people to actually sit back and say “whoa, was I really that much of a dick?” when we begin to fight back about it.
I’m not saying that everyone who is skinny is shaming me for being fatter. That isn’t the case, people have varying opinions, and that I understand, but I’d like to think that those people would understand me saying “fuck” rather than “eff”. It has no meaning, it has no power, and if you really want to be body positive (or #bopo as I keep seeing), then own it, and use the bad language.
I do understand the need to censor the hashtag for media purposes, but there definitely needs to be a realisation that in certain print media, and definitely in this day and age, exposure to bad language is daily occurrence on the streets, and eventually every child will hear the words “fuck”, “shit” and “cunt”. I know that they should be shielded from that side of things, but if you’re that bothered with a movement that is supposed to aggressively give you back those years of bullying, don’t be meek and mild. Be loud and proud, like you see at gay pride events around the world. Rally behind a cause and make it heard.
Printing the word “fuck” is taboo, I get it, but most people now understand that printing “f**k” isn’t going to mean fork. So ditch the “eff”, embrace the “fuck” and censor it with a few asterisks instead. That way, you’ll have more strength and you’ll reclaim those hard years of being sworn at, belittled and made to feel shameful about your body.