Proud2Bme | Tinder Body-Shamers: Just Don't

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Tinder Body-Shamers: Just Don't

By Nicole Wootton-Cane--For the whole of my life I have never had a romantic relationship. And when I say the whole of my life, I mean sixteen years. It seems a silly thing to worry about, doesn’t it?

My life has barely begun and I’m not even out of school yet; so why is getting the approval of (for me, who identifies as straight) a guy been on my mind since primary school?

There’s a lot of social pressure around being in a relationship whatever your age, but personally I haven’t felt encouraged by friends or peers to engage in one; for me, the pressure comes from simply the connotations of having a partner. Attraction is a big thing, right? If you’re in a relationship with someone, you’re generally attracted to them. Does that then mean that I’m unattractive?

Probably not, but it is something I have worried about in the past and admittedly still do.  I hate that this is an issue for me – partly because it feels so stupid as I know that beauty is certainly something that’s in the eye of the beholder – but also because it seems to go against my feminist principles so strongly. However, when I read Michelle Thomas, a UK based blogger’s story, I found a woman who set a real example to me. 

Michelle met a man she calls “Simon” on popular online dating app Tinder. They chatted for about a week before becoming matched, and soon went out on a date. Michelle wrote that the event was “Lovely but standard – just the right side of dull”. However, she was not expecting what came the day afterwards; a 400 word message in a “condescending” tone informing her that she was simply not slim enough for him to be “turned on”.

Michelle admits that she was upset for a minute, but wrote back a few days later informing him that she didn’t care that he didn’t fancy her, but she didn’t see how his message could’ve been intended in any other way but to offend her.  She writes that his words “… stirred a dormant fear that every woman who was ever a teenage girl has – that it doesn't matter how funny you are, how clever, how kind, how passionate, how loyal, how determined or adventurous or vibrant – if you're overweight, no one will ever find you desirable”.

So why does this fear exist? I have it, Michelle has had it and I don’t doubt that millions of others have too. Why are we so scared of being too fat to be undesirable? Quite frankly, it is a totally irrational feeling. There are men and women out there attracted to every body shape under the sun.

But despite this society continues to tell us we are only pretty if we are slim, and unfortunately men such as Simon seem to think it’s their right to back this up. Yes, Simon has every right to not be attracted to Michelle or her body; but to tell her that, to make out that her body is a problem? Not only is it egotistical, it’s just plain rude.

Michelle posted this photo to her Instagram a week ago, sharing her email address and inviting people to contact her with their #bodyshaming stories in an effort to raise awareness for this issue.

So don’t be a Simon. People of all shapes and sizes are beautiful, and no, you don’t have to be attracted to them all, but you should acknowledge their radiance each in their own individual way. And if there’s anything you’ve learned from this article let it be this: you have no right to tell someone if you find their weight unattractive; it could be more harmful than you think.

Photos courtesy of Michelle Thomas's Instagram

Also by Nicole: 

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