Why ‘Fat Shaming’ Celebrity Feminists Is Counterproductive

Why ‘Fat Shaming’ Celebrity Feminists Is Counterproductive

Conservatives shouldn't lead with criticism of celebrity feminists' weight or looks. Our arguments should focus on substance, not snark.
Lisa De Pasquale
By

When word of a live-action Barbie movie made its way through the news cycle, many focused on the rumor that actress and comedian Amy Schumer would be playing the iconic character. The premise of the movie: Barbie is thrown out of her Barbie world because she’s not perfect enough. As Rolling Stone reported, “After being banished from her homeland for not fitting in, the character winds up in the real world where she learns to cherish her uniqueness.”

On cue, critics were quick to point out that Schumer doesn’t have the same body type as Barbie. A more interesting question might have been why Mattel, Barbie’s manufacturer, would license the toy to a project that seems to be insulting it. That aside, it was disappointing to see so many on the right immediately jump to the easy argument that Schumer doesn’t look like Barbie. What about the fact that Hollywood has no original ideas? Or the fact that the movie’s premise is uninteresting and clichéd? Or that the best depiction of Barbie on-screen was in Toy Story 3?

Schumer has complained of being “bullied” because of her size. Yet, she still manages to be the fourth highest-paid comedian. According to Forbes, “Not only is she the only female comic on this year’s list, Schumer is also the only woman to ever make the highest-paid comedians list—a big first as women have historically faced difficulty being taken seriously in the funny business.”

Amy Schumer Is Not A Victim

In other words, Schumer is no victim. Yet despite her financial success, she couldn’t help but complain when Glamour magazine lumped her into a feature on plus-size actresses and models. She wrote on Instagram, “I think there’s nothing wrong with being plus-size. Beautiful healthy women. Plus size is considered size 16 in America. I go between a size 6 and an 8.”

The truth is, there are no hard and fast rules on what is considered plus size. Some brands uses models between 10 and 12, others like Lane Bryant use anywhere from 14 to 24. But it was interesting that Schumer posted a photo of herself in a bathing suit in order to combat Glamour’s categorization of her. Some may argue her rant and photo are also a form of “body shaming” the rest of us.

The other frequent target, especially when it comes to comments on her looks, is Lena Dunham. She seems to keep herself in the news by making ridiculously tone-deaf statement—like when she recently said during a podcast, “Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.”

She now claims it was a “distasteful joke,” which still misses the mark in explaining a stupid comment that many feminists like her stupidly believe. They truly believe getting an abortion is an empowering experience with no consequences. It’s not a joke gone wrong—it’s their entire political platform.

Conservatives Should Lead With Substance, Not Snark

While most conservatives pointed out how insensitive Dunham’s comment was, some preferred to say it was because no one would have sex with her because she’s unattractive and fat. You can find these views on several websites, YouTube videos, and comment sections. Since many of them are friends and good people, I’d rather talk about why I don’t think this tactic works instead of call them out.

Schumer and Dunham are probably in the 8 to 12 size range. First Lady Michelle Obama, also a frequent target of nicknames like “Moochelle,” is in the 8 to 10 size range. These women aren’t even what clothing manufacturers consider “plus size.” Many women, myself included, are their size or larger. Many of Dunham and Schumer’s most ardent criticizers probably know and love women who are physically larger. These women aren’t necessarily following the politics of why Dunham and Schumer are in the news, but they hear comments about their weight. Rather than conservatives leading with criticism of Dunham and Schumer’s weight or looks, our message would be better received if we led with substance, not snark.

Let’s Stop Playing The Victimhood Game

During the 2016 campaign, one of the only ads from Hillary Clinton that I thought could have resonated with women was this one. It played audio of comments Donald Trump made juxtaposed with girls looking in the mirror. The subconscious effect is that he was talking about the girls in the video, which is obviously not true.

Self-proclaimed feminists give us lots of reasons to criticize their radical, out of touch ideology. Why give women who are on the fence a reason to dismiss the conservative point of view by attacking feminists on their appearance rather than their substance?

The truth is Dunham and Schumer want conservatives to attack their weight so they can continue to spout feminist talking points and just cry “Bully!” every time they’re criticized for something other than their ideology. It’s time we stopped playing their game of victimhood and instead take them to task on their ugly and damaging views.

Lisa De Pasquale is a columnist and the author of "Finding Mr. Righteous." She is also the founder of BRIGHT, a daily lifestyle newsletter for women, and cohost of the Political Punks Podcast. She was the director of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) from 2006 to 2011. Follow her on Twitter at @LisaDeP and on Instagram at @Lisa_DeP.
Photo Amy Schumer and Nikki Glaser in Trainwreck (2015)

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