This is super random, but I was rewatching Beyoncé's SuperBowl performance from last year a second ago and it got me thinking about the photo controversy that blew up after it. People were really incensed that Beyoncé dared to try to control her own image. (HOW DARE SHE NOT WANT TO BE MOCKED ON THE INTERNET?!?!)
And that got me thinking about a piece that (I think) Dodai wrote a in the thick of it that basically said "You should let unflattering pictures of you circulate FOR FEMINISM." I can't find it now, even though I googled a million different combinations of "Jezebel Beyoncé Superbowl Photos Dodai" but I distinctly remember that it was published. In it, Dodai's position (I'm 90% sure it was her, but if someone can find the piece and it's not here I'll correct it) was essentially that Beyoncé was awesome and she should "own" the unflattering pictures because "body image" and "fierceness". Something to effect. Essentially, "no one is perfect and she should revel in how hard she works during her performances." Something like that.
And that got me thinking about the Lena Dunham bounty and the fact that the same logic was tangentially applied. "Lena is fat and naked on TV. We should get to see how fat she is in Vogue because BODY IMAGE." Obviously, we (and everyone else) were justifiably upset because the bounty basically offered Lena up to the wolves "in service of the cause."
So my question is this: How far does the individual woman have to go in service of feminism?
Women have the right to decide for themselves how they want to be depicted, especially in a society that is so warped by the way we think women are supposed to look. Beyoncé is a self-made, black billionaire. Arguably one of the most influential people in the world. Why shouldn't she get to control her image?
And for as much as I despise Lena's politics, her decision to be nude in own show that she writes, directs and produces is a big deal. But it's also within the bounds of her own control. Why shouldn't she get to decide that she wants to look like her best self in the worldwide fashion bible, Vogue Magazine? (Especially since they barely fucking touched her...)
The argument can always be made that "Photoshop in magazines is killing our girls and warping body image!" because it is. This is demonstrable. But in both these cases, the pushback was reasonable. Beyoncé didn't want an unflattering photo of herself circulating and being mocked (didn't work, obviously) but that's reasonable. How many of us have untagged ourselves from facebook pictures with a quickness because we didn't look our best? And Lena wanted to look pretty in Vogue, just like every other cover model. Not only did she achieve that, but she did so without really compromising her body positivity politics. Why should she be dragged through the mud for that?
Eh. I guess the real lesson here is that Jezebel should stop telling women how to feel about their own fucking bodies. Fin.
ETA: It was totally not Dodai who wrote the post. Thanks to KorbenDallas for finding it for me.