So, I just saw comedian Annie Lederman’s body image drawing. It’s been circulating the internet this morning. People are loving it, but I think it’s counterproductive.
The Huffington Post gushes that Annie Lederman “has done the world a favor by explaining how women often see themselves in one perfect drawing” which might be true, but I don’t think the drawing, while poignant, is doing the world any favors. The Huffington Post continues to say that if you relate to the image you should ”take a deep breath and try to remember you’re being just a little too hard on yourself.” I understand and appreciate the sentiment, really I do, but this misses the mark. The intentions are all good and it may even be true, but it’s hypocritical, it’s body snarking, and it’s perpetuating the problem.
Though there is definitely an “it’s funny because it’s true” vibe going on here, the way it plays out in the illustration is counterproductive. The drawing still assumes that one kind of body is better than another. What if you do look more like the dude in the mirror? Should you be ashamed? Is your crummy self esteem valid then? A huge problem with body image is that women think they look disgusting–part of that problem is defining and confirming which physical traits are considered appealing and which physical traits are considered repellant. We should not be saying “you don’t look like this–don’t worry you are beautiful,” we should be saying “it’s okay to look however you look–whatever!”
I take particular issue with the mirror image’s uncanny resemblance to Danny DeVito. Though he’s an expert physical comedian who is always willing to make his distinct body into a joke, it still isn’t cool to position him as a nightmarish specter in the mirror. It’s tasteless to target someone so specifically. We should focus on improving the way women feel about their bodies without body shaming others like mean girls from a movie.
Check out Annie Lederman’s Twitter