Minnie quit Twitter after jerks made rude comments about her body in a bikini. She fired back by posing nude in the May issue of Allure, in which she looks exactly how a celebrity is expected to look in a magazine, saying: "I've got a banging body."
Oh, Minnie. How I wish you would have put on some ugly, jelly-donut-stained shorts, forced out your stomach and snapped a gut-selfie as a way of saying: I don't care what you think about my body. And then follow that with pictures from your trip to Cambodia where you fought for the rights of female factory workers. There's no need to defend yourself by posting nudies. You've done amazing work with Oxfam. You're a mom, a gifted actor and true humanitarian -- therein lies your beauty. There's no bigger "F-you" than that.
How we ladies can help Minnie say: "F-you, I don't care what you think about my body... even if it is banging."
A. We can make "gut-selfies" go viral on Twitter.
B. We can stop commenting on our appearance. I've never once heard my husband greet a guy friend by saying, "Hey, man. Don't look at my nose, my pores are clogged." And yet if someone compliments my dress, my first response is: "Don't look at my legs, I haven't exfoliated my knees."
C. We can stop commenting on each other's appearance. If I happen to drop a few pounds and you tell me (with the kind of enthusiasm reserved for winning Powerball) that I look AMAZING, then it goes without saying that I did not look AMAZING before. It also implies that if I gain those pounds back, I will have let myself go. Go where? I guess back to lying comatose beneath a pile of Dove chocolate wrappers with other women who don't Zumba.
D. We can learn to see with our eyes, not our scrutin-eyes. (Get it? Scrutinize?) When a guy sees another guy, he just sees Ed, Bill, Jeff or Bob walking up. Between women, it's more like: Here come Ellen's flat abs or Linda's gray roots just pulled up or Donna's fake boobs just texted me or Gee, I'd love to but I'm having coffee with Carol's crease-less forehead.
It's not entirely our fault.
We've been conditioned to see the female body as a series of parts that are either appealing or unappealing. Say a woman walks into a restaurant -- here come her legs, then her breasts, her buttocks, face, hair and whatever's left (her mind?) trails behind. A man walks through the same door and walks in whole, in entirety. He's just a dude walking through a door, attractive or not. With a woman, it's like a deli platter just passed by: the pastrami and kippered salmon look good, the prosciutto pinwheels appeal, but the melon looks a little sad. We see men, we scrutinize women.
How often do men think about "spread"?
I'm not talking about creamy olive tapenade, I'm talking about the splay of their thigh as it rests on a chair. Women think about it quite a bit. We sit, we look down, and we evaluate our thighs as if they were hearty chops of prime chuck that could feed hundreds, if not thousands, depending on our carb intake for that week.
Our concerns are not limited to body image. I personally wrestle daily with the ontological argument presented by Saint Anselm of Canterbury in the year 1078, but for some reason thigh splay is more vexing. Why? Because we live in a media-saturated world that invades our brain with the same image over and over again: the bone-skinny buxom female touching herself somewhere on her body, as if to say: This hand could be your hand, all you have to do is eat this Burger King Croissan'wich.
She gives men erections and women eating disorders. Who is she...?
Her expression is aloof. Her lips, parted. Her body, passive -- you could vacuum her with a Dyson upholstery attachment and it wouldn't faze her. She is The Most Interesting Woman in the World. She must be. Nearly every billboard features her, nearly every product uses her. She sells cars, bacon, bras and burgers. In contrast, The Most Interesting Man in the World is a 70-something bearded old man who most likely snacks on pepita seeds to stave off prostate enlargement. Yet he's presented as intelligent, cultured and interesting. He's so interesting that young women, who should be home studying for their bio-chem final, surround him like gnats on a punctured banana.
Take back your brain.
Don't buy magazines with headlines like "10 Days to WOW!" unless they intend to wow you with a step-by-step guide on how to safely free an angry bear from a snare trap, or cure world hunger. Don't support companies that use the female body in sexually exploitative ways to peddle their stupid products. And when you see her -- The Most Interesting Woman in the World -- don't accept her image as normal. Mentally draw some shorts over her thong'd rear. If they've photoshopped a gaping space between her thighs, picture a little bridge there, or the Sistine Chapel, with God on one thigh reaching a finger out to Adam on the other.
We could all start wearing ostentatious feathered hats as a way of giving ourselves new small talk. Or we could simply fight the impulse to comment on each other's bodies. This includes positive comments like, "you look AMAZING." It's called "habitual body monitoring," and it has to stop. There's an epidemic of low-self esteem among women. Plastic surgery is becoming mainstream for girls under 20, which tells me we need to show this next generation that The Most Interesting Women in the World are interested in their minds, not their thighs.
Let's find something else to chat about -- like the starving babies in Haiti and what we can do about it. The media beast has tricked us into focusing too much on how we look, rather than who we are and what we contribute to the world.