SkinnyGossip in an Academic Paper

willowwillow

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Whoa. Somebody wrote what appears to be a thesis paper on us!
I skimmed through the paper, which can be read via the following link:

Collective Dysmorphia as a Resistive Social Movement:SkinnyGossip and the Fight Against the Physical

https://www.academia.edu/13549819/C...innyGossip_and_the_Fight_Against_the_Physical


She mentioned she tried to gain access with photoshopped photos and a 'fake narrative' but was denied.
:wtf: :wtf: :disgusted:
 

SugarFree

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I feel like this has been discussed here before but I can’t find the thread.
 
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Ange

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Christ... this girl was definitely trying to reach a word count quota.

Please, do yourself a favor and don’t read this trash.

But if you must, the clearest summation of what she was trying to say in this dumpster-fire of a paper is:

“Furthermore, the fact that the forum was oriented as a virtual ‘home’ that was missing a kitchen and a dining room helped the user displace her presence in a physical, material world where the need for nutritional sustenance is a reality. The home as a physical rooting in space was supplanted by a virtual site that oriented the user within various ‘rooms’ that one may occupy and explore, use to connect with other members or simply submerge herself in imagery.”

Dear “writer”, if you ever read this, we are people who live on the planet Earth. This is not “The Matrix”. I’m in a physical space as I type this to you on my phone. I am aware of this. Are you? Either you like to pretend that you’re smarter than everyone else or you’re just really lazy with your school work.

Next time you try to write a paper, come up with a better thesis statement that doesn’t leave you scrambling for supporting data reminiscent of a teenager taking their first psychology class to “diagnose” their family members’ mental illnesses.

All of that aside,
we talk about food A LOT here. If this is actually some weird virtual-reality house, believe me, the kitchen and dining room are very popular.

Please, get out of academia.
 
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stargirl

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Actually, we do have a kitchen. It’s just when you’re too fat to even be considered for membership, we tend to keep you out of it. Dumb bitch.
 
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Tinyportia

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Bumping this thread to share another thesis about Skinny Gossip: Critiquing the thin ideal in pro-anorexia online spaces (2017) by Gemma Rose Cobb.

As is evident from the title of the thesis, it's an analysis of how thinness is constructed in pro-ana online communities. Needless to say, SGF comes up a few times. (Note: thought it was worth calling out that although the thesis was written in 2017, the author seems to have confined her analysis to forum posts from 2012-13 - hence the references to us all praising Kendall Jenner! :lol: ).

Anyway, to save you trawling through the thesis, I've located all the references to SGF and copied them for you below in case you're at all curious as to what this PHD student has to say...

One space in particular evades categorisation: so-called ‘pro-skinny’ celebrity gossip site Skinny Gossip. It arose from a ‘thinspo’ search, but it does not profess to be a proana space and denies this fervently. Although denial and disguise is a central tenet of pro-ana culture as I discuss in detail later, Skinny Gossip itself appears to be an example of a celebrity gossip blog merging with pro-ana sentiments

Fat in these spaces is a crime to be punished (see also Day and Keys 2008b, p.90), and as a result, it is constantly policed.
Such policing is glaring in Skinny Gossip. This website and forum is run by an anonymous blogger who calls herself Skinny Gurl. As I pointed out in the introduction to this thesis, it is not ostensibly a pro-ana space; in fact this is something it vehemently denies, even though it draws on pro-ana discourses. With its rolling images of celebrities and models, Skinny Gossip’s homepage borrows its presentation and rhetoric from the celebrity gossip magazine in its jokey, tabloid style (McRobbie 1997). This is ironic, considering the forum discussions disparage anything they consider lower class. However, the light-hearted register of the website masks the darker tone which pervades the forum conversations beneath. On the homepage, Skinny Gurl exclaims: ‘Barbara Palvin- Busted! Is lovely Barbara packing on the pounds?’ (2015). The adjective ‘lovely’ is instructive here: it denotes a specific kind of beauty, one that is both feminine and middle-class, which I discuss in detail below. By speculating that the model may have gained weight, the author suggests that this loveliness may have escaped her.

Skinny Gurl explains that she established the site so that thin women could come together without fear of judgment and being told they must eat (2012a). She rages:

It also seems thin is only OK if it’s an accident. We hear thin celebrities say “damn, I eat like a horse and I just can’t gain weight!” This is a lie and one they feel they must tell, because honesty (“I work hard for this body!”) is for some reason socially unpalatable. It’s also terrible because it feeds the delusion that our body weight is outside of our control. (Ibid., emphasis in original)​
Whilst the author does not acknowledge the privileges associated with thinness, she claims that she is seeking to expose the hard work that goes in to achieving it. This statement therefore reads as an affront to the denial of dieting enacted by the women’s magazines examined in chapter two. Skinny Gurl reasons that celebrities obscure the truth about their bodies, yet she uses the neoliberal logic of self-improvement to suggest that through hard work anyone can achieve the ideal body. In so doing, she indirectly implicates fat people as deliberately lacking the self- discipline and moral worth to lose weight (Bordo 2003, p.192; LeBesco 2004, p.55). The tone of Skinny Gossip is thus set: a defensive and blinkered space, indifferent to the intersectional inequalities which might render a person unable (and unwilling) to realise a slender body.

The website received mainstream press attention in 2012 for its shaming of American model and actress Kate Upton whom Skinny Gurl called ‘well-marbled’ (2012b). The connotations of fatty meat here are intended not only to reference the burgers Upton was promoting at the time, but her apparently corpulent body. Ironically, given their widely-documented misogyny and insistence upon judging women on their appearance, the Mail Online described the site’s comments about Upton as ‘ridiculous’ (McCormack 2012), and The Sun declared it ‘a foul tirade of abuse’ (The Sun 2012). In the now infamous article, Skinny Gurl labels Upton ‘thick, vulgar, almost pornographic’ and takes issue with her apparent lack of class, insinuating that she buys her clothes from discount store, Wal-Mart (2012, emphasis in original). Upton is portrayed by Skinny Gurl as antithetical to Skeggs’ evaluation of a respectable female body which is ‘usually middle-class’ (1997, p.82).

Skinny Gossip is not only exclusive in the female bodies it admires, but also in its membership. Those who wish to join the site and take part in discussions must email Skinny Gurl with their vital statistics, including Body Mass Index and photographic evidence of their size. If a candidate is not considered thin enough, they are rejected. Accordingly, Skinny Gossip’s Tumblr page abounds with queries from potential members eager to be accepted into the site. A typical post asks if Skinny Gurl would allow an individual with a high Body Mass Index to join, a standard reply is in the negative (skinnigossip 2015). An interested party asks directly about ethnic requirements, having previously inferred that being a person of colour is a hindrance to membership; Skinny Gurl is perhaps deliberately vague in her response, suggesting that the user follow the application process and they will find out that way (ibid.). Although the site does not state directly that only white women need apply, the images of models and celebrities and members’ avatars clearly indicate that whiteness is a pre-requisite.

The Skinny Gossip forum features a section devoted to discussing the merits of celebrity bodies. The tagline sets the tone of the conversation, imploring members to define who is fat, who is thin, and who is thinspo (Skinny Gurl 2015). A lengthy thread takes place here discussing model, celebrity, and younger sibling of the Kardashians, Kendall Jenner. Kendall is regularly showcased in pro-ana online spaces. She has a profile on A1 Thinspo which details her nationality, family background, height, and weight (2013) and she appears in discussions on Pro-ana for Me. In one thread, her merits are discussed and although she is described as thinspirational, users criticize her personality and questions are raised about her weight, which at 130lbs is considered too high (‘Kendall thinspo?’ 2013). There is a general concern as to whether Kendall is worthy of thinspo and doubts are raised as to whether she belongs in this space.

These doubts are amplified in Skinny Gossip. A forum member initiates the discussion around Kendall: ‘She’s really tall and quite thin. She looks terrific, unlike her fat sisters. What do you think? Is this because of her Jenner genes? (‘KendallJenner’ 2012). The member suggests that genetics have aided Kendall and thus provided her with a better, thinner body than her sisters. Such invoking of genetics recalls the citing of the Holocaust in A1 Thinspo explored above and echoes problematic Darwinist ideologies around race and gender which suggest that certain – white – bodies are more civilised than others (Somerville 2014, p.272).

Conflict around race pervades the Kardashian-Jenner family in that Kendall’s older sister Kim Kardashian has famously constructed an ethnically ambiguous identity where she ‘strategically embodies both the trope of the heavily regulated ‘white’ body and the trope of the curvaceous, exoticised, non-white (implicitly black) body’ (Sastre 2014a, p.129). Kendall, however, occupies a more definitively white identity. Skinny Gossip users position her as an improvement on her Kardashian sisters because she is afforded the intersectional privilege of white slenderness they are perceived to lack.

Others agree that ‘The Jenner genes made her pleasing […] Leggy and naturally goodlooking’ (‘KendallJenner’ 2012). The implication is that the larger shape of the ‘fat Kardashian sisters’ is unattractive, yet the Jenner genes made their younger sister not only good-looking, but civilized. Moreover, the use of the adverb ‘naturally’ is instructive here: it suggests innateness to Kendall’s beauty, a body unmarred by cosmetic augmentation. In other words her beauty is perceived as genuine. This positions her in direct opposition to Kim Kardashian, whose bodily authenticity is continually questioned (Sastre 2014a).

Repeatedly referred to as ‘pretty’, the language afforded to Kendall Jenner is delicate and feminine, unlike the description of her half-sisters who are cast as an homogenous group. As one member notes: ‘The Jenner genes definitely helped her. She avoided two of her older sisters’ pig faces and the family’s plumpness’ (‘KendallJenner’ 2012). Another concurs: ‘[…] she must have got the good genes from her dad, because the other Kardashian sisters are small and flabby!’ (‘KendallJenner’ 2012). Members are keen to separate Kendall from the wider Kardashian family, with one exclaiming: ‘I love Kendall’s thin body – she’s pretty. I hope she takes care of herself and doesn’t end up with a body like her sisters’ (‘KendallJenner’ 2012). As Bourdieu asserts, the more cultured bodies are those furthest from nature (1984, p.193), by which token the body in its natural state must be worked upon and improved in order to become respectable. The implication is that Kendall’s sisters have neglected their bodies, which has led to their larger size. This is ironic as the Kardashians, Kim in particular, are renowned for regulating and refashioning their bodies (Sastre 2014a). Hence, the disdain Skinny Gossip has for the Kardashians’ bodies is for the shape itself, and by suggesting that genetics made Kendall pretty and her sisters unattractive, members seek to essentialise body types.

The same member bemoans, ‘I don’t like people saying Kendall and Kylie are Kardashians, they are Jenners and their father is Bruce!’ (‘KendallJenner’ 2012). She emphasises the importance of distinguishing the Jenner sisters from the Kardashians, via their father. The Kardashian-Jenners are an American family, however, the older members are of Armenian descent, through their deceased father, Robert Kardashian (Smith 2015). The younger members of the family, Kendall and Kylie, were fathered by retired athlete, Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn (ibid). There is consequently a distinction between the two branches of the family: the Kardashians are older and of Armenian heritage; the Jenners are younger and all-American. The Kardashians’ heritage is nonetheless Caucasian, but as Dyer notes, ‘there are also gradations of whiteness: some people are whiter than others’ (1997, p.12). Hence, the Kardashians are castigated by Skinny Gossip as a result of their distance from the hegemonic AngloAmerican whiteness embodied by the Jenners.

The denigration of the Kardashians is not only an issue of ethnicity, rather it brings to the fore a combination of intersectional privileging and marginalisation. Kendall Jenner possesses the whiteness her older sisters lack and she also embodies a range of privileges including age, body type, and class. What is more, her rise to fame, whilst likely to have been aided by Kim’s celebrity, is decidedly more conservative. It is well documented that the Kardashians found fame when a sex tape of Kim was leaked in 2007, and although it has been suggested that the tape was leaked intentionally (Smith 2015), the narrative of the female celebrity being inadvertently exposed by such an indiscretion is no less a familiar one. Isabel Molina-Guzman argues of a similar ‘disciplining’ of the body of Latina star Jennifer Lopez by the tabloid press, suggesting that Lopez was vilified by the media for purported sex tapes and infidelity, in a way that white stars are not (2010, p.70). In short, any cultural capital the non-white star might have acquired is easily divested by the elision of their ethnicity and the untrammelled sexuality ascribed to their bodies.

This discourse is complicated by Kim Kardashian who actively utilises her sexuality and, more specifically, her accentuated buttocks to construct her image. Yet, at the same time, Kim’s discernible sexuality forecloses the possibility of her being viewed as tasteful, for, ‘Feminine excess means women with visible sexuality. It is marked on their bodies and coded as tasteless. Femininity without excess is the terrain of the middleclass’ (Skeggs, 2004, p.167, emphasis in original). Kim encompasses visible sexuality in extremis, not only via the sex-tape, but through her curves. Her large buttocks are indicative of active female sexuality and ‘marked ethnicity’, whereas a smaller derriere represents modesty and whiteness (Wilkinson 2015, p.151). Kendall with her comparatively slender frame fulfils the requirements of a femininity Kim fails to embody; not only has she been refined by the ‘Jenner genes’, her relative youth and hidden sexuality imbue her with respectability. Kim’s all-too-visible sexuality, combined with her participation in reality television, renders her the antithesis of the white, middleclass respectability adulated by Skinny Gossip.

Although members of Skinny Gossip praise Kendall Jenner, their discussions are laced with anxiety over the transience of her thinspirational status. The castigation of the Kardashian sisters and members’ eagerness to differentiate them from Kendall suggests a concern that she could be corrupted by the apparently unruly Kardashian genes, as though the Jenner genes have purified her and must be cherished. This echoes deep-rooted fears around miscegenation which were particularly heightened during the Victorian period when people were concerned that the intermingling of genes would lead to degeneration (Gilman 1985, p.237). As a result, Kathleen LeBesco suggests that large bodies ‘provoke racist anxieties in the white modern West because of their imagined resemblance to those of maligned, ethnic and racial Others’ (2004, p.56). The larger bodies of the Kardashian sisters are seen to haunt Kendall, thereby recalling the ephemerality of the ideal body. This highlights that, ‘whiteness as an ideal can never be attained’ (Dyer 1997, p.78). The anxiety embodied by the Kardashian sisters may be momentarily relieved by the younger Jenner sister and the colonising white genes of her father, but the othered Kardashian genes are always threatening to contaminate her body and her thinspirational standing.

The Skinny Gossip thread on Kendall Jenner makes numerous references to her youth, asserting that she is only slim and attractive because she is young: ‘I definitely think she will become bigger. She’s only 17 isn’t she? Let’s see what she looks like after puberty […] She’s only skinny because she’s a teenager, I’d be interested to see if she’ll stay that way and tone up’ (‘KendallJenner’ 2012). In their prophesying that Kendall may not remain slim, users reveal the impossibility of ideal thinness. They recognise that she is thinspirational because she is a teenager, which is tacit acknowledgement that the ideal body must look pre-pubescent, and thus for the majority of women is impossible to maintain.

As a result, the veneration of Kendall Jenner in Skinny Gossip is short-lived: her height is deemed ‘a bit ridiculous and not feminine’ (‘KendallJenner’ 2012) and her deportment is criticized with comments such as, ‘her posture is terrible. She walks like a lorry driver’ (ibid.). Later, one user exclaims, ‘Oh God, her posture… she swings her arms when she walks. Kendall, if you insist on modelling you should only do print’ (ibid. 2013). Members suggest that Kendall’s bodily movements betray both the gender and social class requirements of ideal thinness. As Bourdieu argues:

the most typically bourgeois deportment can be recognized by a certain breadth of gesture, posture and gait, which manifests by the amount of physical space that is occupied the place occupied in social space; and above all by a restrained, measured, self-assured tempo. (1984, p. 218)​

Kendall, with her poor posture and swinging arms is judged to have failed as a genuine model because she is not expressing her body in the composed and feminine way such a role requires. The suggestion that she should focus on print modelling rather than catwalk states that she is convincingly beautiful when stationary, but in motion she falls short of the ideal. Kendall’s ideal status is not only jeopardized because of the transience of youth, but by her very movements: her perfection lasts as long as she is still. By highlighting Kendall’s failure to fully embody the requirements of normative femininity, users tacitly acknowledge that gender is ‘a norm and a fiction’ (Butler 1990, p.173). It is therefore fitting that many of the women deemed to be thinspirational in these spaces present an image of themselves which is on some level fictional, being as they are actors, models, or celebrities.
 
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Reinefine

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There’s way too much to unpack in this article but what confused me the most is her multiple suggestions that SGF discriminates against POC and the working class??

Obviously I can’t speak for all members who have ever been on this site, especially not those from 2012, but I genuinely think we are all here simply to appreciate the skinny aesthetic and lifestyle. I am yet to see any discrimination based on social class or race (apart from Bloodkitten’s racist rampage but she was clearly unhinged and was banned immediately) and to suggest that members’ preference for Kendall was based on her being “all-American” and not her being “skinny” :hahano: in comparison to her sisters seems ridiculous to me, considering the site is literally called SKINNY gossip. But whatever, with all the reaching Gemma is doing she might at least burn some calories in the process!
 
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art hoe

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There’s way too much to unpack in this article but what confused me the most is her multiple suggestions that SGF discriminates against POC and the working class??
Agreed. I have been here since 2016, so maybe in the earlier days, there was more classism. But to equate thinness with higher class seems to be the author’s own personal bias, unconsciously bleeding through.
 
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bougainvilleas

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The anxiety embodied by the Kardashian sisters may be momentarily relieved by the younger Jenner sister and the colonising white genes of her father, but the othered Kardashian genes are always threatening to contaminate her body and her thinspirational standing.
I can't take this seriously... the floundering academese in the writing doesn't even slightly disguise the badly structured points. Her own thesis contracts itself: Thinness is mainstream, but pro-ana is not; therefore, pro-ana sites "expose the extent to which normative femininity is underpinned by practices which may be deeply disordered, but they are viewed as normal by mainstream culture"? What is this ouroboros logic?

Legit every line: https://phrasegenerator.com/academic
 
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Fremdschämen

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In so doing, she indirectly implicates fat people as deliberately lacking the self- discipline and moral worth to lose weight

Babe, there's nothing "indirect" about it.

Agreed. I have been here since 2016, so maybe in the earlier days, there was more classism. But to equate thinness with higher class seems to be the author’s own personal bias, unconsciously bleeding through.
As a black member that has been here since 2013, I can confidently say the writer is full of shit. I have never felt excluded or uncomfortable because of my race, or even my class status. For all her chubby faults, SG is the one that accepted me to the forum, and she never had a single thing to say about my race, nor did I get a prejudice vibe from her.

A lot of us are/were broke college students, and a lot of us aren't white. She seems to think that because we don't use constant Twitter/Tumblr speak, that must mean that we're all rich white girls, which says a lot more about her than it does us. As a matter of fact, people that flaunt their wealth (coughEEcough) tend to be met with eye rolls. And maybe I'm just being sensitive, but she seems to be pushing a narrative of only white women being thin and attractive, and PoC only being "curvier" (see: fat).

I'll admit my eyes glazed over a bit trying to read this garbage, but I don't believe she ever had a single direct quote from the forum bashing anyone for their race. It was all, "someone said this thing in another article, so here's me doing some Olympic level mental gymnastics to apply it to SG."

For example, this quote:
Although the site does not state directly that only white women need apply, the images of models and celebrities and members’ avatars clearly indicate that whiteness is a pre-requisite.


I have personally never had an avatar of a white model - they've all been either of Asian or black women. The reason so many members have avatars of white models is because the vast majority of models are, shockingly, white. Which, by the way, is a discussion we've had dozens of times criticising this trend. There are still threads for non-white models, and they're often met with praise.

I could rip this entire essay apart paragraph by paragraph, but I'm sure no one wants to read that, so I'll just say that Gemma is a dumbass and this thesis gets an F from me. Start over and try again.
 
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delicateeuphoria

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Honestly, I couldn't be bothered to read the whole thing because it all just becomes a jumbled mess of cycling word vomit, however, I genuinely don't understand what she means by "the colonizing white genes of her father, but the othered Kardashian genes are always threatening to contaminate her body". In what world is having "white" genes colonising? Plus, the Kardashian mother is also white?

How are genes that she doesn't contain always threatening to contaminate her body unless this "author" associates fatness with ethnicity? Does she assume that the younger Jenner sister is expressing the Kardashian genes that she doesn't contain purely because she looks like a beached whale?

It's honestly frustrating when these white "activists" attempt to speak for minorities and "represent" minority bodies in a way that makes them feel good about themselves. Would this woman write a similar piece blaming "whiteness" for contributing to the thin ideal if she went to Korea/China/Japan where the standard can be BMI 15-16? I don't need a random white woman telling me that it is in my ethnic genes to be fat but that the "colonising white genes" of my mother is the reason I want to be thin. What a pile of virtue-signalling garbage.
 
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habenula

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Bumping this thread to share another thesis about Skinny Gossip: Critiquing the thin ideal in pro-anorexia online spaces (2017) by Gemma Rose Cobb.

As is evident from the title of the thesis, it's an analysis of how thinness is constructed in pro-ana online communities. Needless to say, SGF comes up a few times. (Note: thought it was worth calling out that although the thesis was written in 2017, the author seems to have confined her analysis to forum posts from 2012-13 - hence the references to us all praising Kendall Jenner! :lol: ).

Anyway, to save you trawling through the thesis, I've located all the references to SGF and copied them for you below in case you're at all curious as to what this PHD student has to say...
If this is enough to get her a PhD, then I've clearly chosen the wrong field. She lost me at "heterofeminine".
 
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habenula

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I personally took greater offense at 'middle class' :lol:
My parents didn’t pay for 16 years of leftist private education for me to be mistaken for a member of the proletariat!!!!!!!!!!
 
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PetiteLapin

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3060A53D-6C5B-4851-A44E-BE60A4DDEEB6.png

oh no.

I also feel like she writes about this stuff because she actually wants an excuse to go on ”pro ana” sites and get skinnier.
 
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Chamomile

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“Hence, the disdain Skinny Gossip has for the Kardashians’ bodies is for the shape itself”
AE1B0AF6-4313-4288-845C-C2E9F67AABD8.gifIt took you several paragraphs musing about racism, classism, etc to reach the most intuitive and obvious conclusion from the beginning?
 
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raven

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Celeb Essential: Body De Renda | Looks com body, Looks ...


You mean this 'shape' ?
Sad that it is considered a rarity to have disdain for her and pity for her jeans...
 

delicateeuphoria

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“Hence, the disdain Skinny Gossip has for the Kardashians’ bodies is for the shape itself”
View attachment 88438It took you several paragraphs musing about racism, classism, etc to reach the most intuitive and obvious conclusion from the beginning?
I genuinely don't understand what her point is here? Does she mean that we degrade the hourglass/pear shape? Because I'm a pretty prominent hourglass (hips are 12" wider than my waist even with my hipbones poking through my jeans and my chest is 8-10" bigger than my waist) and I've never felt degraded here for having this shape since I'm still skinny. Is it the ideal here? No, of course not, but she certainly makes it seem like we drive anyone with genuine curves (fat rolls obviously don't count) out with a stick.
 
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sentier

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“Hence, the disdain Skinny Gossip has for the Kardashians’ bodies is for the shape itself”
View attachment 88438It took you several paragraphs musing about racism, classism, etc to reach the most intuitive and obvious conclusion from the beginning?
Also, they barely even have that 'shape' given the amount of ass surgery and waist training it has taken to get it.
 
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Cherrygloss

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As a social sciences major, I've observed that many academics pad their main point of disagreement with accusations of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia or "heteronormativity" and transphobia or "cisnormativity" to muddy the waters and get more people to agree with them because anyone reading their work will take issue with at least some of those belief systems. This paper is one of the clearest examples of such an approach. It's really just poor writing because it always either makes the writer's thesis unclear or simplifies it to "x is bad".
 
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