Earlier today, Lady Gaga posted photos of herself in her underwear on her website with the caption: "Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15" and launched a new project encouraging fans to "make our flaws famous, and thus redefine the heinous."
Anything that pushes back against body snarking and encourages body diversity and acceptance is a good thing, obviously, but is Body Revolution resisting beauty standards or reinforcing them?
In a previous post about beauty standards/ideals, I suggested that fat women loving their bodies and viewing themselves as beautiful subverts the dominant beauty paradigm. One method of expressing your love for your body is through the action of dressing it according to your own personal style—whether you're a full-blown fatshionista or a jeans and t-shirts kind of girl. I specifically want to discuss the mindset of the former, those who embrace fat fashion as a way to resist cultural beauty standards.
I've watched America's Next Top Model intermittently over the years. I can't really say why. I was never that interested in fashion magazines, which seemed to me to depict another planet altogether, accessible only to the very rich. I have, furthermore, never much understood the fascination with models. Understand that when I say that I am not trying to make any claims about the difficulty of the work they do - I don't "hate models" or anything so broad as that. It's just that they don't seem to hold for me the kind of visceral fascination they do for other people.
I admit I do have one philosophical objection to modeling. I simply do not know how we are going to build a world where everyone is valued if we keep insisting that no, really, some people are more valuable than others. Particularly if we do so on bases over which they have little individual control - such as being socially "attractive," meeting the critical mass of "pretty" that will get you on magazine covers and sigh-ingly acknowledged, by almost everyone, as "gorgeous." I don't see how that strain of the cultural conversation benefits anyone in the slightest.