Did I miss some media memo where everyone agreed that body snarking was okay, as long as you did it to men? Apparently, because after Chris Christie‘s fiery speech at the Republican National Convention last night, some people are having a hard time keeping their fat-shaming to themselves. One story on Newser begins,
“GOP conventioneers might have been transfixed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s hard-hitting speech last night, but there was something else they couldn’t help noticing: He seemed larger than ever. The portly politician has said in the past he needs to do something about his weight, but he’s apparently losing the battle.”
If any female politician was described like this, women would be up in arms protesting the terrible treatment. We would furious that a woman was judged by the size of her belly instead of the strength of her arguments. Twitter would have erupted into protest and whoever wrote such a thing would already be suspended without pay by their news organization.
I don’t agree with Chris Christie’s politics. I didn’t particularly enjoy his speech last night because I get nervous when I feel like people are yelling at me. But do you see how I just stated my opposition to Christie without once mentioning his pant size or BMI? It is completely possible to do so.
Body image and fat-shaming may seem more prominent in women because we’re more often put on display for our figures, but that doesn’t mean it’s any more acceptable when it happens to men. In fact, recent studies have shown that men might have more body image issues than females. Chris Christie is a politician, not a Calvin Klein model. He weight has absolutely no effect on his ability to do his job. Why should it be the focus of a piece describing his political performance?
And in case you think it’s just Newser, here’s a headline from the L.A. Times: “Chris Christie, the Republican heavyweight, is really heavy.” And Newsday: “Chris Christie’s biggest fight may be weight.” Let’s not even get in to all the Twitter comments because they’re downright horrible.
The treatment of this man has been disgusting, and I have to admit that I think more people would be outraged if he were a female. I think we would rise up and denounce those stories so quickly, retractions and apologies would be flowing from all over the internet. But apparently, the fact that we’re talking about a man makes it okay to remark on his weight, to call him fat. Apparently that makes it acceptable to judge and stereotype a person based on their size.
It’s disappointing. And every woman who would defend that hypothetical female counterpart should be standing up to support Chris Christie right now. That’s what equality is, my friends. It says that all deserve to be treated fairly. Chris Christie did a great job as a Republican Governor looking to fire up his base last night. It wasn’t a performance that I enjoyed, but that had nothing to do with his appearance. If he’s great at his job, why is anyone commenting on his weight at all? We should all be aware that the two have nothing to do with each other.
(Photo: Andres Otero/ WENN.com)