Monday, 19 November 2012
Up for grabs
I know, I've done my fair share of presumptious commenting on other people's bodies, weighing in on something that's none of my business.
I've aired my opinions on their clothes, their size, their voice, their hair, or anything else that catches my attention. And what's all that got to do with me? In a word, nothing.
It's entirely a matter for them. Just as what I do with my own body is my business and not that of every opinionated Tom, Dick and Harriet who happens to see me.
Some people go even further. They presume to tell women if they can have abortions or use contraception or get sexual advice. Or keep their clitorises. And usually it's men who issue these gratuitous instructions. Who gave them the right?
There's a term for all this unwanted opinionising. A very accurate term. Body fascism. Because isn't that what it is? Or at the very least authoritarianism.
No wonder so many women dislike their own bodies and wish they had a different one. How can anyone have body-confidence if any passing stranger feels entitled to pass judgment? Just a critical glance can be disconcerting.
Random strangers and their opinions are bad enough, but once the journalists start wading in, it can be seriously destructive. Thousands of people are told that celebrity X or Y is badly dressed, too thin, has stringy hair or looks like they just crawled out of bed. Who gave these superannuated hacks the right to trash other people's bodies so freely?
It's about time we reclaimed the integrity of the human body, instead of treating it as another commodity to be shaped by public whims.
PS: Just to clarify, I don't include loved ones here. I think they're entitled to have opinions on their partner's/ friend's body. Of course those opinions may not be heeded....