Quick top-of-the-post-note: while this post talks about body snark in the context of bra fitting, I believe it is applicable to many more situations in which peoples choices about their clothing and bodies are discussed, and I’d love it if you’d read through it whether or not you care about bra fitting, even if you have to TLDR the background stuff. This is really important to me, and is at the heart of the Brog’s philosophy. Thanks! And now onwards to the actual post.
Even quicker top-of-the-post-note: keep an eye out for the appearance of Bras and Body Image, who contributed some stunning pictures to help out with this theme! Deets at the end of the post.
My dear Gentle Readers, it’s time to Get Personal With Miss Shapen. As you know, I believe in body positivity for people of all shapes and sizes, and while the focus here on the brog is on clothing for people who are shaped like me, I appreciate every body type for its loveliness and hope all readers embrace their shapes with love and enthusiasm. I don’t believe that body positivity means you can’t want to change things about your own body, and in my case, right now I think that gaining some strength and muscle tone would be really good for me, especially in my core. I struggle with intermittent back pain of varying severity; while this has been vastly improved by finding well-fitting bras last year, there is probably some residual grumbliness on the part of my long-suffering back, and it’s almost certainly exacerbated by my having to haul a lot of equipment and a large instrument all over the place constantly.
I’m lucky that my current body type is one that is accepted within the narrow range that exempts me from being bullied most of the time, but as I reflect on the changes I am wanting to make and what health and wellness look like for me, it’s brought to mind general issues of body image, weight, and health, and with those, further thoughts about body snark, shaming, and sizeism, all of which I am vehemently against. Please read my post on Fitspo memes for more on this topic, as well as my post about modesty. :)
Meanwhile, I’d like to talk about another corner of the internet where shaming can lurk under the cloak of “being helpful” or “fostering healthy discussion” – this one quite unexpected by me – the bra fitting community.
A while back, a member of an online community of bra fitting bloggers to which I belong discovered that several of us were being discussed on a Polish bra fitting forum under a thread entitled “Internet Monsters.” I want to say right at the start of this – and very, very clearly at that – that the upsetting statements I’m about to bring up are not representative of any community, be it the specific website on which they were found, or the Polish bra fitting community, or Polish people in general (ESPECIALLY not that). I don’t want this post to cause any divisiveness or stereotyping, and if that is what you get from it, please re-read. Okay, so that being said: this was a pretty awful discovery. We here in the US and UK who are doing bra reviews and such are doing so in an attempt to help people (as are bra bloggers everywhere!), and it can be really scary putting ourselves out there. While I was very lucky to have had nothing mean said about me (and in fact would consider the discussion about me to be a great example of how such discourse can be undertaken respectfully), some of my colleagues had really nasty things said about them, and they were quite hurt by it. Here are a few examples of statements made about other bra fitting bloggers , as translated directly and graciously by a Polish friend of mine:
“Easy or not… If a “plus size” girl squeezes herself in 30 (and EM 65) bands, it’s obvious she’ll never get a bra that will “fit her very well”. I don’t know, but I don’t really believe that [incredible, lovely blogger] has such a narrow underbust…”
“O mother of God, she tied herself like a ham… [url redacted for being totally unnecessary] Why do people do such harm to themselves… just to feel slimmer and more busty? Is that so much better? The horror…”
“Jesus Christ!! Give me a gun! [url redacted],” followed by, “[username], it still amazes me how horribly wrong fitted bras she wears, nota bene, being a bra fitter…”
WHAT? HULK HEAR BODY SNARK ABOUT FRIENDS?
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March 4, 2014