I hang out on Twitter a lot. I consume a lot of my news on the platform and I enjoy it quite a bit. I rarely get involved in anything and only tweet a handful of friends. For the most part, I am an outsider looking in. I like it that way. On Tuesday I read an article about Meghan Tonjes. She is a YouTube vlogger and artist. She, like a lot of us, documents her life on Instagram. This includes her weight-loss journey. When she posted a picture of her clothed derriere it was reported and as a result taken down by Instagram. For the full story click here.
After the video about her experience went viral something amazing happened and the bootyrevolution hashtag was born. The whole point of the hashtag, as I understand it, is to encourage women to be free and love their bodies no matter their size. Fat bodies have long been considered ugly and relegated to something that needs to be hidden from view. Fat women can’t exist.
Body-policing is the act of policing a body because it does not conform to social norms. I would argue that it involves a lot more than that as it includes making assumptions about a person’s health, eating habits, and overall personality. I have heard (and admit to being guilty of it myself at times) people remark, “She’s too fat to wear that.” or “If you’re that size you should not be wearing a two-piece.” and the perennial “She’s so fat it’s disgusting.” Additionally, this body-policing is generally skewed towards women.
When I hear friends and family members hate on their bodies I get sad. When I see young girls starve themselves because they want to be skinny like the girls in magazines I have a strong desire to do something. What can I do? I decided to join the #bootyrevolution by posting a selfie of my booty. I must admit I thought myself half mad for even considering it. Then I took a picture (or twenty) and wondered if it was worth it. Could I actually post a picture of my butt on Instagram? The internet is forever after all. After a few minutes of intense deliberation, as well as encouragement from a fellow booty warrior, I decided to do it. Why not flood the internet with pictures of bodies in all shapes and sizes? If women can look through these and feel empowered and comforted in knowing that there are other women like them out there then I want to be a part of that.
A question that kept nagging me was what would people think? I have friends and family that follow me on Instagram and they might not be aware of the point of the picture. Would they be offended? This, dear readers, is the question that really stuck out to me. The fact that I took their offense into consideration. Sure, I would never choose to offend the ones I love but my body is not offensive. And my booty is not for them. Who cares what they think? People post all sorts of things all the time and I am sure as heck they don’t give me a second thought when they do so.
With shaky hands I hit share and felt immediate and utter pride for having done so. I stepped out of my comfort zone. I put my professed body positivity into practice. I became involved.
Of course, men missed the entire point of the hashtag and used it as a mining tool for their own perversions. I am not here for them. I am not here to see pictures of their privates or to receive their accolades and innuendo. If you think that posting a picture of my rear invites these comments then you are part of the problem. Exercising free agency over my body is not an invitation to men to make lewd remarks. I have now experienced firsthand yet again how women are seen and treated as commodities and sexual objects.
Overall, sharing my booty has been a positive experience. I have learned more than I ever thought I would and have seen lots of beautiful women take the brave step to share their pride and love of themselves. That is a beautiful thing.