How Odd Is My Bod is a new feature from Seeta Lee. Each week, I’ll share stories about our bodies. The purpose of this feature is to destigmatize body talk, reduce body shaming, and encourage boundaries against unwanted body comments. In other words, I want to give people a space to discuss what they think is strange about their bodies, to feel less alone in and weird toward their bodies, and to get people to shut the fuck up about other people’s bodies.
CW // harassment, body shaming
Until my early 40s, I didn’t know it was OK to tell people not to talk about my body. Reminder: I’m 45.
Commenting on each other’s bodies is a normal thing in my family. It’s used as a greeting. Someday, I’ll tell the story of the first comment I got from my aunt when my family and I (age 11) stepped off the plane for a Hawaiian vacation. I’ll also tell the story of how my grandmother would shame my size as a way of saying hello. And I’ll talk about how this continues today.
In the meantime, I wanted to share Milouse Laguerre’s story, which I read about in The Daily Beast.
Not Your Butt, Not Your Business
To summarize Laguerre’s experience, her coworkers took body shaming to the point of pushing her into legal action. None of them believed her butt was real. They went from disbelief to bullying real quick-like. It’s a horrific story, especially considering she lost her job, and the bullies didn’t face any consequences. While I’m glad Laguerre got out of the situation and will hopefully receive compensation for her suffering, that kind of body shaming stays with you forever.
All because her butt was shaped differently than most.
It’s unreal to me that body shaming gets to the point of what Laguerre experienced. But there’s a bit in the article that caused me pause:
The CNA quickly told another nursing assistant walking by that Laguerre “stated that the ass [was] hers and that [it was] not fake,” according to the lawsuit. The second CNA “then said that it was not true and cannot be and that [Laguerre] has a big butt and that it is fake and that she has not seen someone with that ass before.”Justin Rohrlich, The Daily Beast, emphasis mine
Imagine the Body Possibilities. No, Seriously.
What is it about humans that we think this way? How does one person think they’ve seen every possible shape of every possible body part of the eight billion people on this planet and the billions who’ve died before us? Why do we think, “Well, I’ve never seen that, so it’s fake”?
Don’t get me started on how this kind of thinking is ridiculed if applied to religion but apparently acceptable everywhere else.
It’s like these people have never played The Sims. Yes, I know The Sims aren’t real people, but how you play with Sim body modifiers says a lot about you. If your Sims look like this, but have never looked like this, your imagination needs reanimation.
There was a city in The Sims 2 where the Curious-Smith Family had green skin. I once created an orange Sim with clownish blond hair who always wore a bathrobe and a red hat. He was a miserable fuck. That’s the beauty of The Sims; you can create anyone who can look like almost anything. You can imagine endless possibilities.
Silliness aside, we are so limited in our understanding of what the human body can look like that we can be angry, jealous, or full-on cruel when faced with the truth of what the human body does look like. I’m certainly guilty. I don’t know who isn’t. We were all raised in societies with body ideals. We KNOW this. Yet things like fat shaming, ableism, skinny shaming, racism, gender discrimination, and all of the other beige thinking persist. When you really think about how wrapped up we are in what we think bodies should look like, it makes zero sense. It’s all social constructs within constructs, but it all has very real implications, impacts, and influences.
If you’re so unthinkably awful about the size of another person’s butt that you harass them into needing help, go play The Sims. You need it.