Last week, actress/comedian Amy Schumer made a bold statement about body image when she posted a photo of herself enjoying a day at the beach. Criticism abounded. Using her typical wit and sense of humor, she quickly dispelled Internet trolls who were quick to make fun of her not-stick-thin figure. Pretty much the whole Internet took note, but most sites merely recognized Schumer’s status as a leader in the body image conversation. A positive discussion to have? Absolutely. However, one individual put a different spin on the topic.
22-year-old psychology major, Whitney (last name Zombie?) took to Instagram to share her thoughts on Schumer’s body. The self-proclaimed feminist found a photograph of a statue of Aphrodite that happens to look almost identical to Amy Schumer. She juxtaposed a photo of Schumer in a similar pose, and the Internet pretty much lost its mind.
Her caption reads:
On the left is a sculpture of the goddess Aphrodite, who is renowned for her beauty. On the right is @amyschumer. What a wonderful resemblance between two beautiful women. So many women and young girls are shamed by the media and fashion industry for not having a flat stomach and not being a size zero. But look, the goddess of beauty is portrayed here with stomach rolls and doesn’t have a perfectly smooth, toned body. I want to remind everyone that they do not have to be a Victoria’s Secret model to be a beautiful goddess with a beautiful body. Your body is not bad, ugly, or wrong. Embrace your inner goddess. #bodypositive #amyschumer #everybodyisagoodbody #Aphrodite
The statue serves as a stark reminder of exactly how far standards of beauty, and of body type, have shifted over time. Aphrodite was considered the embodiment of physical desire and lust, and yet in today’s society, she’d be ripped apart on social media for having stomach rolls. After all, her doppelgänger, Amy Schemer, has struggled against body shamers, and she has even been labeled “plus size,” even though she’s only size 6-8.
Aside from the aesthetic side of this issue, we can assume that people’s perception of what is “healthy” too has shifted over time, particularly for females. Rolls have become a sign of gluttony, weakness, and lack of discipline. Anyone who takes care of their body is assumed to have perfectly flat abs, if not all the time, at least for today’s art form: the Instagram selfie. Schumer reposted Whitney’s photo on her own account, and while most of the comments were positive, there were still quite a few that were quick to criticize Schumer for her weight:
“I don’t get this? What is this? A message to overweight people? Why is someone who’s overweight being posted on Instagram?”
“Not quite up to beauty standards cus she still weighs too much. But the extra weight compared to Aphrodite is her arms, which need to be cut off apparently 😂”
“She fat bro”
“@amyschumer just shutup and lose weight. You look better when you’re fit. Not hot, but f*ckable.”
“It 21 century…..we’ve DIFFERENT standards of beauty.”
“Looks like Aphrodite needs to hit the weight room #FatLivesMatter“
“I wish this was still considered sexy so I could eat more f*cking pizza.”
Despite the perception that fat is bad, the fact is that most people have rolls when they bend over. That doesn’t mean they don’t have abs, they aren’t strong, or that they are severely overweight.
In fact, it is perfectly healthy, especially for females, to have some fat. Although healthy men typically carry only between 10-15% body fat, the average healthy woman carries between 18 and 20% body fat. That’s almost a fifth of all body mass. Why? Because the female body is designed to give birth, one of the strongest, most incredible acts the human body can perform. And guess what? To grow a healthy baby, you need fat stores.
Professional surfer and model Bo Stanley recently posted a photo regarding the same topic.
I hear from a lot of women that they shy away from sports , especially surfing and swimming because they don’t think they look “fit” enough in a bikini . I’m here to tell ya that when I bend over or am moving during sports , I have a roll, and it’s totally OK . You don’t have to look like the cookie cutter athletic image to be an athlete or participate in any level of sports. There’s millions of us that don’t have washboard abs and are totally just as badass and capable. And to the women that do have washboard abs, I think that’s awesome too!! Some of us are built like that, and others built differently. It’s about equality , diversity, health, and empowering ALL sizes of women . So put your bikini on this summer and GET OUT in the water. Don’t let silly insecurities stop you from having fun and participating!
Stanley is a strong, powerful, healthy athlete. And she also “has a roll.” Plus, I’ve watched her surf, and she absolutely rips. Clearly, not being a size zero hasn’t stopped Stanley from living a healthy and vibrant life of doing what she loves. Nor has it stopped her from being an absolutely beautiful beach goddess in her own right. Check out her Instagram if you need proof.
Having some body fat and being healthy aren’t mutually exclusive. Just like having some body fat and being sexy and desirable need not be mutually exclusive. After all, really what could be sexier than a naked woman holding a coffee cup?