Really, Cosmo?

Not that I expect much of a ladymag with cover lines like "What Guys Crave After Sex (Besides Beer and Pizza)" and "Start a Bonfire in His Pants" (snerk), but even by Cosmo's body-shaming standards, this is going too far: For a recent piece, titled "A Naked Woman Walks Into a Bar...: What Do MEN AND WOMEN Think About Her Body?" bar patrons were asked to critique a (thin, white) woman's body. According to blogger Rachel Hills--who notes that, thanks to PhotoShop, "not even Jessica Alba has Jessica Alba's body"--the comments were... disturbing.
Rod: Um, she’s not very athletic.

Emily: … she’s got cellulite and she could be more toned.

Claudia: Her thighs … could do with being a little more toned and shapely.

CJ: [Her bum is] a bit untoned and has cellulite. It’s not really rounded enough.

Ally: I’ve got a similar problem to her with the double bump - you know, there’s one bump where the hups are and then there’s another bump where the thighs are.

Jim: The front [of her thighs] is a little bit deceptive, as the back isn’t as toned.

Rod: It’s got the makings of a good one. If she went running for an hour a day it’d be perfect. It doesn’t take much to tone up, but most girls think that exercising will make them butch, so they eat really healthily and then don’t do any
Assuming Emily, Ally, Rod et al are themselves less than perfectly toned, buff, and cellulite-free, I'm guessing their comments say more about the premise of the article--judge this woman, as Rachel puts it, "as if she was a magazine photo waiting to be airbrushed into “perfection”--than about their own personal standards of "hotness." Judged from the impossible beauty standard promulgated by magazines like Cosmo (be thin but "curvy," toned but not "butch," hairless but sexy/womanly, etc.), this extremely thin, conventionally attractive woman couldn't help but fail to measure up.

Of course, don't have to go into a bar naked, or even go into a bar, to have the experience of complete strangers cataloguing your "flaws." How much of this is real--the extent to which we're "trained" to judge one another, to say "at least my belly bump/acne/panty lines/butt size isn't as bad as hers," or the self-shaming inverse--and how much is imagined is impossible to say. But the fact that Cosmo felt that this would be an interesting/provocative feature--"Hey, since we're constantly judging our own/friends'/strangers' clothed bodies, let's see what happens when we take it one step further!"--tells me that body shaming and judgment isn't just the province of fashion magazines promoting impossible standards of feminine beauty. It's something we all do. I would be interested to read the same article from the woman's perspective (which, as far as I can tell, isn't reflected anywhere in the Cosmo piece)--is walking into a bar naked a uniquely humbling experience, or just an exaggerated version of what it's like to walk outside as a woman every single day?

A footnote: While searching in vain for the article itself on Cosmo's web site (most of the magazine's content isn't available online), I stumbled across the magazine's latest quiz, which weighs how "confident" you are in the nude. (The point being, of course, to be "booty-licious" for your man). Cosmo's suggestion for women who are "unnerved when naked"? "When you see a chick who seems sexier than you are, resist listing ways that don't measure up." Truly, the Cosmo Girl moves in mysterious ways.

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