When body shaming and colorblindness collide

2017/11/07

“Has anyone seen channel 8’s new morning traffic reporter? She’s a size 16/18 woman in a size 6 dress. She looks ridiculous. I understand that when I watch Channel 8 I’m going to get biased reporting and political correctness, but clearly they have taken complete leave of their senses.”

 

So a Texas woman named Jan Shedd openly complained about a local TV reporter’s “provocative” dress. Black Twitter (which, for those who don’t know, is basically just outspoken black people on the social media platform) called her out on the criticism, inferring that reporter Demetria Obilor’s dress was less the issue than her race.

I wasn’t sure they were entirely on target in that inference. Shedd simply seems like the kind of woman who may be uncomfortable with curves and anything resembling pulchritude. My mom is that type; she is really uncomfortable with wearing anything that hugs her figure. And Shedd had this as her Facebook cover photo:

Ugh. Bonhoeffer is one of my heroes and it offends me to see the anti-Nazi quoted here by this lady. She probably thought she was speaking out on evil — in this case, the evil of this woman exposing her dynamic figure and thus leading men to lust, I guess. (Which is frankly men’s problem to solve, period.)

But let me unpack the levels of wrong in Shedd’s criticism.

  • Obilor’s dress is too small, she says. No, it just fits and isn’t loose.
  • Obilor looks ridiculous, Shedd says. I wonder why she thinks so? I’m a dude, so I think Obilor looks FANTASTIC. For Shedd’s part, she’s veering close to body shaming territory. It’s this line of thinking that asks “What were you wearing?” to survivors of sexual assault.
  • Shedd complains of biased reporting/political correctness: Now I can’t really comment on News 8’s reporting, not being in the area, but I highly doubt bias is quite the problem Shedd thinks it is on the local level. (Nationally, perhaps. But not local TV news.) And I wonder what rates as political correctness in local news coverage for her?
  • Shedd thinks News 8 has lost their minds. Wow, that’s quite a charge to make. The station has done the unthinkable: Put on a pretty girl wearing pretty clothes on to report the weather or whatever.OH WAIT, LOCAL NEWS STATIONS HAVE ALWAYS DONE THAT.

Shedd is entitled to her opinion, of course, but opinions are like rectal orifices: Everyone has one. And hers stinks of self-righteousness.

But did it stink of racism? I wasn’t sure. That is, until this tweet following the spitstorm she endured afterward.

You. Didn’t. Notice. She was black.

Jan. If your sense of sight is sharp enough to notice Obilor’s dresses and figure, how can you claim not to notice her not-exactly-white ethnicity?

Here’s a friendly message to every reader of this blog: Being colorblind in this way is NOT A VIRTUE. At all. You don’t get any points in civil society by erasing this aspect of another human being. (More on that in a future post).

In Shedd’s case, perhaps Obilor’s ethnicity truly didn’t make any impression on her, and thus she viewed the TV reporter as a fellow white woman and judged her by that standard — perhaps the only quote-unquote “decent” standard for beauty and appearance that Shedd has ever known or employed.

Which is, of course, the problem: that she could live this long and still feel that her standard is the main one that matters.

Instead of trying to dismiss people who don’t try to ignore race and ethnicity as “racists” as Shedd does here, she’d do better to listen to their point of view and broaden her view of the world. And to stop looking down on women like Obilor who aren’t ashamed of their form.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: