Today in Body Policing—Now in Blue!

[Trigger warning for body policing, gender policing, fat hatred, and dehumanization.]

by Shaker Erica

Approaching the newsstand this morning, I had a suspicion I wasn't going to like what I was about to read.

[Image Description: The cover of Metro with a "headless fatty" color photograph of a fat white man from neck to waist, with his arms wrapped around himself, covering his breasts. The headline and subhead read: "Ashamed of your moobs? …You're not alone." Below that is the text: "With obesity rates rising, more men are turning to surgeon's knife to fix man boobs. What was once a private shame and laughing matter has become a problem that's easily fixed."]

A full-sized image of a naked and headless body on the front page with big bold letters that say 'ashamed' never really leads to any good place.

My friend immediately pointed out the gender policing. Moob? (Man+boob.) Because having breasts (having female qualities) is a serious source of shame, right? Of course, being fat in and of itself is also obviously a 'private shame and laughing matter' according to whoever is writing cover copy for the Metro.

In the corner of the cover, there is a text poll ("WIN $250!"):
What's the biggest turnoff in a guy?

a: Man boobs
b: Unibrow
c: Hairy back
d: Bad breath
What!? Is this really a front page story? What exactly is the point in promoting all this body shame?

That's rhetorical.

The next full page devoted to this story (yes another full page—accompanied by an image of another headless body) reveals that "men with full breasts like these can have them surgically removed with a simple procedure." The article (viewable online here) goes on to discuss how easy and cheap it is to have surgery on your lunch break. "They don't need to take a lot of time away—just a couple of hours in the afternoon."

Leaving aside the inherent problems in promoting plastic surgery as a quick and easy way to 'fix' your body, why why why are we always meant to feel our boobs are too small or too big? That we are too fat, too thin, too hairy, too bald, too pale, too dark, too whatever else to live without shame?

That's rhetorical.

Meanwhile, hidden in a short blurb elsewhere in the paper, we get the news that New York Governor David Paterson signed into law a bill that protects domestic workers' rights and affecting overtime, weekly time off, and protection from sexual harassment.

I guess that's not important as fat-shaming though.

Email the author of the piece, Heidi Patalano, here. Email the editors here.

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