Rant: The Language We Use to Describe Women’s Bodies

It’s summer, which means women’s bodies are the topic of conversation yet again (although really, they always are). Most recently, we’re talking about the body of Mekayla Diehl,  aka Miss Indiana. She’s broken the typical beauty pageant mold and has a closer-to-average body type than beauty contestants. But we’re not calling her average. We’re calling her “normal.”

Calling One Body Type Normal is Not Helpful.

Two different body types, both are normal. (Also, there are surprisingly few photos of us together. This is from the 2013 Arcade Expo).

Two different body types, both are normal. (Also, there are surprisingly few photos of us together. This is from the 2013 Arcade Expo).

See normal means that anyone else is abnormal, or weird. Using the term “normal” implies if you are bigger or smaller than Mekayla then you are abnormal. “Normal” means something different to each person. My normal is short and hourglass. Claire is tall (or I think she’s tall, but I am not the best judge) and slim. And both of us are completely “normal.”

But it’s just not that we’re calling her “normal” which is the least of the problems surrounding this latest topic of conversation. The twitterverse exploded with comments praising Mekayla for not being “a bag of bones” or “a twig.” Disgustingly, one person even said she “looks the most human.” Of course my personal pet-peeve came out when we started calling her body type “real.” (Spoiler Alert: Real women aren’t defined as X. Real women are those who define themselves as such.)

All the comments surrounding Mekayla’s body type, and comparing it to those around her, came from women. Ladies, we have got to stop doing this. Our bodies are objectified enough without us adding more judgement to the conversation.

I encourage all of us to start looking at the language we use to describe our bodies as well as the bodies of other women. Stop saying what “real women” are and are not. Stop putting down one person to raise another one up.

Embrace your own normal.

 

One Response to “Rant: The Language We Use to Describe Women’s Bodies”
  1. Sara C says:

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