Jo Blogs

I'm a wildly undisciplined blogger, but when something inspires me to write, I swing into action. Sort of.

Thigh dudgeon

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So. Thighs. On a woman, they’re just south of one’s fanny-sex-place and just above the knees. In hashtagland our thighs are a hot topic.

Are you gappy or a mermaid? Has one replaced the other? Do either of these categories have any bearing on what thighs are actually for?

For the record, I have pretty substantial thighs and they touch at the top, so clammy weather is a chore without talcum powder, and I can erode a pair of jeans at the crotch in under a fortnight if I’m especially active. So the promotion of the ‘Thigh Gap’ as the only acceptable kind of thigh arrangement made me feel a bit shitty and fat. Fat in a bad way rather than in a neutral description kinda way.

I discovered the term ‘Mermaid Thigh’ this afternoon in the Telegraph online (I was looking for something specific, I don’t a usually patronise a paper that thinks former Loaded Editor Martin Daubney qualifies as an actual journalist). And you know what, it made me feel good, acceptable to myself and a lot less shitty. It’s such a simple thing, it reframed how I saw my body and its a bit cute and it’s fun. AND what’s more, anyone who can put their knees together can join in. And that’s FINE.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a club anyone can rock up to. I read something about it being average sized women co-opting body positive ideals from fat activism or whatever. Sorry, but that is just daft, I mean…

a) where do we draw the line? Who qualifies as ‘fat’ here, in a world where the diet industry profits from everyone feeling like shit?

b) no woman’s body escapes social pressures or judgement, so when there’s an opportunity for us all to do/say/think something that might make us feel good, why not use it?

c) sigh.

I don’t want to co-opt anyone else’s thing, at all, but then I’m assuming I’m average, it depends, I’ve had plenty of trolls tell me I’m fat, and that’s just the polite ones that don’t tell me to kill myself.

Maybe I’m missing something crucial about feminism and my body. Maybe I’m being drawn into something that encourages women to divide their bodies up, name those parts and serve them up on social media like a platter of vol-au-vents at a lacklustre 80s dinner party. Or maybe (and this is the way I’m leaning) our bodies are carved up any way, so maybe we can to make our peace with them a bit at a time and put them back together our own way, but also collectively. I feel fragmented and seeing myself as someone coherent in mind or body is something of a challenge. Oh lawdy, I’m fucked if I know. But I do know that solidarity and seeing each other’s individual struggles as part of a whole is important and liberating.

But anyway, here’s a little message for all you lovely people in case you need it.

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Not for the meanies who fat shame and are just nasty about what people look like. Nope, you earn being rad. You people have a think, be nice and then you can be rad too.

 

 

 

 

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Bikinis and burkinis: sexism on the sea shore

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Sexism sells body shame on the sea shore

Calling out sexism on the sea shore

This week a woman in Nice was forced to removed some of her clothing by French police. A real and degrading act of humiliation visited upon a woman just sitting on the beach. No, she wasn’t wearing a suit of chrome fitted with assault weapons, an anthrax T-shirt or trousers printed with graphic depictions of bestiality. She was wearing a ‘burkini’, a swimming costume. Burkinis are designed so that Muslim women who choose to remain covered can go swimming in public without compromising their beliefs.

I may have issues with patriarchal and religious codes that police women’s bodies, attire and actions in relation to male desire and aggression, but as Arundati Roy has correctly stated, “Coercing a woman out of a burka is as bad as coercing her into one”.

Hell, I hate wearing revealing clothing, it makes me feel uncomfortable. If I was forced by an authority figure to undress in public I would go postal. Just imagine it, it’s like one of those nightmares where everyone’s looking at you undressed. It seems the French authorities have decided to find a way to punish Muslims in general for the the acts of a few terrorists and are doing it in a very visible way, notably, to women. Women on holiday with their children. This is humiliation, control and sexism 101 and it’s a disgrace.

Much like a person in a city is supposedly never far from a rat, it seems, a woman on Planet Earth is never very far from someone who wants to control her body; how she dresses it, medicates it, feeds it, moves it, arouses it, fires babies out of it [or not] etc.

Hands up if you’re tired of this shit…

For more on this issue visit Stop Telling Women What to Wear on Facebook.

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