Today I came across the headline "Daisy Ridley 'will not apologise' for her body size after Instagram criticism". Essentially, someone posted a photo to Instagram of Ms. Ridley as the character Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with a speech bubble, "I can't believe the unrealistic expectations I'm setting for young girls. Don't they know real women have curves?"
I'm appalled. I'm appalled that we have to keep having these conversations. Daisy Ridley's body is her body, and therefore it is a real woman's body. Real women have curves, or they don't. Real women have flat stomachs or round stomachs or slightly paunchy stomachs. They have smooth skin or rough skin or scarred skin. Their skin is light or dark or freckly. They have hair on their bodies or they don't. They have large breasts, small breasts, all the breast sizes in between, or they have no breasts at all. Real women bear children. Or they can't, or they choose not to. The measure of a real woman is NOT IN HER BODY. It's just not. A real woman is just...a woman.
Body shaming anyone is not ok. Not for being fat, not for being thin, not for having a body that is in someway different from what you're used to seeing as a body or find attractive in a body.
In a time when things like #unfairandlovely, #effyourbeautystandards, and #thisbody are bringing attention to the diversity of bodies in our world, when we have our first plus size model gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated*, it's so disappointing to see there are people still trying to police women's bodies and appearances and fit them into a neat little box of acceptability. Instead of worrying that one woman's body is the thing setting an unrealistic expectation, that Instagrammer needs to be worrying a little more about what their body policing says to young girls. It tells them they can't look different, that their worth is in being the "right" size, the "right" color, the "right" kind of woman. Is that truly a message we want girls to hear, or do we want to them to know that there's strength in diversity and loving yourself just as you are right now?
I love my body. Like a close family member, it exasperates me at times, amazes me at others, yet rarely fails me. There is a certain peace that comes with acknowledging the ways your body deviates from that little box of acceptability, yet loving it for those things as well. I have to love this body -- it's the only one I have to carry me through this life.
*And yes, Ashley Graham was also publicly body shamed by former supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, which was disappointing to read. Women need to stop criticizing each other for their appearance and start supporting each other.