The real message we need to take from Hilary Duff's viral Instagram post.
It's time we stop body-shaming women. All women.
Hilary Duff shared a wildly viral Instagram post aimed at body-shamers that has the internet collectively cheering.
I am posting this on behalf of young girls, women, and mothers of all ages. I'm enjoying a vacation with my son after a long season of shooting and being away from him for weeks at a time over those months. Since websites and magazines love to share 'celeb flaws' - well I have them! My body has given me the greatest gift of my life: Luca, 5 years ago. I'm turning 30 in September and my body is healthy and gets me where I need to go. Ladies, lets be proud of what we've got and stop wasting precious time in the day wishing we were different, better, and unflawed. You guys (you know who you are!) already know how to ruin a good time, and now you are body shamers as well. #kissmyass 😛✌🏻
A post shared by Hilary Duff (@hilaryduff) on
"I am posting this on behalf of young girls, women, and mothers of all ages," she begins her post. "I'm enjoying a vacation with my son after a long season of shooting and being away from him for weeks at a time over those months. Since websites and magazines love to share 'celeb flaws' — well I have them!"
"I'm turning 30 in September and my body is healthy and gets me where I need to go. Ladies, let's be proud of what we've got and stop wasting precious time in the day wishing we were different, better, and unflawed. You guys (you know who you are!) already know how to ruin a good time, and now you are body-shamers as well. #kissmyass"
Let's be totally clear: Duff is young, thin, and conventionally attractive. That inherent privilege is important to remember here, providing some context to the responses she got.
Her message has largely been really well-received, racking up all sorts of positive headlines about how she "crushed Instagram haters" and got "the ultimate revenge" on her critics. That sort of response is great — however, it's important to ask whether the same anti-body-shaming message would have gotten the same praise coming from a less conventionally attractive source.
Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Zimmermann.
A number of fat acceptance activists and writers have grappled with whether it's even all that helpful for a "body positive" message to be delivered by someone who doesn't face hardship on the basis of their body. In a 2016 interview with Bustle, Arched Eyebrow blogger Bethany Rutter took aim at this diluted definition of "body positivity."
"Body positivity has been co-opted so comprehensively as to have become meaningless," she said. "Since not all bodies are discriminated against, and there are specific characteristics that mean some most definitely are, it stands to reason that a term as generic as 'body positivity' does not work."
Duff's underlying message is important — so long as we work to apply it to all people and not just conventionally attractive celebrities.
When we cheer a celebrity who "fires back at" or "totally shuts down" the body-shamers, we need to make sure that we're also applying that message to fat bodies, short bodies, trans bodies, black bodies, brown bodies, disabled bodies, and every other body too.
It's crucial that we fight for a world in which no woman — or any person of any gender — is made to feel ashamed of who they are or what they look like. That's something society needs to tackle, and it starts with pushing back against the unending scrutiny women get based on their bodies. Duff is right that judging someone, for better or for worse, on the basis of their appearance only feeds the body-shaming culture.
So let's get to work building a world where all women of all shapes and sizes can feel free to be themselves and love their bodies without shame. Sound good?
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