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Health

19 Times People Got Body-Shamed In 2014

Fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, food-shaming, butt-shaming, clothing-shaming... You name it, 2014 had it all.

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1. Old Navy charged more for women's plus-size clothes.

change.org / Via change.org

Women's Rockstar Super Skinny Rockstar Jeans, size 6: $34.50

Women's Rockstar Super Skinny Rockstar Jeans, size 26: $44.94

Men's Premium Skinny Jeans, any old size: $39.94

When an Old Navy customer noticed that women's plus-size clothes are priced higher than non-plus sizes, while men's clothes' prices never change within a style, irrespective of size, she started a Change.org petition that eventually got 95,000 signatures. The petition demanded that the store end its discriminatory pricing, which Old Navy's parent company, The Gap, defended, saying that the higher prices for women's plus-size items are the result of using "unique fabrics and design elements." Worth noting here is that other clothing brands like Aeropostale and American Eagle don't charge differently for plus sizes and non-plus.

The Gap hasn't changed the way plus-size clothes are priced, but it's said it will hold quarterly focus groups "to further enhance our plus size collections."

2. Talk show hosts didn't like Michelle Obama's weight, did like her "booty."

As part of a discussion about healthier school lunches (an initiative championed by Michelle Obama) on the Fox News show Outnumbered, contributor Dr. Keith Ablow said of the first lady's weight, "She needs to drop a few." He followed up with, "Let's be honest, there's no French fries there? That's all kale and carrots? I don't buy it."

Co-host Kennedy replied: "I like her booty."

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3. People couldn't deal with Prince Fielder's naked body.

Alexei Hay / Via ESPN The Magazine

ESPN The Magazine's annual Body Issue is known for showcasing the lean/muscular/chiseled physiques of dozens of athletes in the nude or almost nude.

The 2014 cover of pro baseball player Prince Fielder featured none of the well-defined abs or visibly rippling quads that readers were used to. So, Twitter busted out its best material — and by best material, I mean a torrent of insults, from gibes about BMI and doughnuts to straight up disgust. Thankfully, the backlash to the backlash was right on time, bringing with it tweets of respect, admiration, and good ol'-fashioned lusty desire for Prince Fielder.

4. A hacker got a hold of female celebrities' private selfies and leaked them online.

In August a hacker publicly released nude photos of 101 female celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, Jill Scott, Kate Upton, and Gabrielle Union.

Guardian columnist Roxane Gay likened the leak to an act of revenge porn: "Your bared body can always be used as a weapon against you. Your bared body can always be used to shame and humiliate you. Your bared body is at once desired and loathed." Feminist writer Jessica Valenti suggested that female celebrities are "expected to hang their head in shame for having the temerity to pose nude for themselves or lovers," thereby making photographic evidence both the evidence of the shameful act and the vehicle of public shaming.

5. Renée Zellweger's face looked different and people freaked the fuck out.

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

The internet really went out of its way to obsess over and express disgust about Renée Zellweger's "new face," speculating that she'd had plastic surgery. (Zellweger said that her change in appearance is the result of living a healthier lifestyle and taking better care of herself.)

As BuzzFeed's Anne Helen Petersen explained, fetishizing female youthfulness and then punishing women for trying to acquire it (or, in this case, assuming they've tried to acquire it) is "just one of many ways in which society damns women for taking its ideals concerning sexuality or the body to their natural extension."

6. A tennis official questioned Williams sisters' gender and called them "frightening."

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

During his appearance on a late-night talk show in Russia, Shamil Tarpischev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, called Venus and Serena Williams the "Williams Brothers" and said, "It's frightening when you look at them." Tarpischev was fined $25,000 and suspended from the Women's Tennis Association for a year. Serena Williams called the remark sexist and racist.

7. The winner of the Biggest Loser lost 155 pounds, sparking debate over whether her weight loss was healthy.

Rachel Frederickson won Season 15 of The Biggest Loser, dropping 155 pounds and setting the record for highest percentage of body weight lost (nearly 60%) in the show's history. When her total weight loss was revealed during the show's finale episode, the audience cheered enthusiastically. That's when a storm started gathering: Frederickson's extreme weight loss was about to become controversial. Viewers took to Twitter saying Frederickson looked unhealthy, that her BMI was too low, and that they were disappointed and concerned. From "too fat" to "too thin," Frederickson couldn't get it right.

Two months after the finale aired, Frederickson announced that she'd gained 20 pounds and had finally found her "perfect weight."

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8. A high school sophomore was made to wear a "shame suit" because her skirt violated the school's dress code.

Miranda Larkin was given a neon yellow T-shirt and red sweatpants, which both read "Dress Code Violation" to wear in place of the offending skirt. Rather than go to class in the shame suit, Larkin went home early and thoroughly documented her experience on social media.

9. A Weight Watchers ad campaign encouraged women to be (publicly) ashamed of their eating habits.

youtube.com

Things people confess: sins, shameful secrets...eating habits? Meet food-shaming, body-shaming's fraternal twin.

As part of an ad campaign for Smart Ones, Weight Watchers' lines of frozen meals, the company invited women to "fess up" about their eating habits. Using words like "guilty" and "downfall," women wrote their food-related transgressions (e.g., "I've eaten a whole can of icing for breakfast") on tablets. The confessions were then projected onto a giant display in Times Square where they were digitally wiped away, thereby giving each woman a "clean slate."

10. @YouDidNotEatThat reminded us that thin people could be food-shamed too.

Instagram: @http://instagram.com/youdidnoteatthat/?modal=true / Via instagram.com

"If you're a size zero, and you're frolicking in a tiny bikini on the beach, you probably did not eat the doughnuts that you posed with the sunglasses."

So says the anonymous person behind the Instagram account You Did Not Eat That, her platform to prove that thin women couldn't possibly have eaten the food she regrams them posing with — burgers, doughnuts, ice cream, etc.

Some say this Instagram vigilante is striking a blow for "the rest of us," while others see the time-honored tradition of policing women's choices and shaming them for both what they eat and what they don't.

11. Victoria's Secret tried wordplay with "perfect body" and it was a disaster.

Brister Photo / Via victoriassecret.com

Victoria's Secret's launched the advertising campaign for a new line of bras with the tagline "The Perfect 'Body.'"

Oh, not "body" as in the corporeal vessel. "Body" as in the Body line of bras, of course!

If you didn't catch what they did there, count yourself among the 33,000 Change.org petitioners who felt that the text "The Perfect 'Body'" laid atop a photo of 10 similarly slim, tall, and busty models posing in their bras and underwear had a less innocuous message. The petition asked that Victoria's Secret change the wording of the ads, saying that they "play on women's insecurities, and send out a damaging message." The company solved the problem by changing the tagline to "A Body for Every Body" (but only online).

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12. Diplo thought Taylor Swift's butt was sub-optimal, so he tweeted about it.

@diplo should we do something about your tiny penis while we're at it hm

Lorde@lordemusicFollow

@diplo should we do something about your tiny penis while we're at it hm

1:17 AM - 13 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

13. Pregnant women who gained too much weight were deemed repugnant, immoral.

Jellybean Apparel / Via etsy.com

"Expansive thighs" and "dimpled corpulent flesh" are some of the colorful phrases Sadie Nicholas used to describe pregnant women she spotted during her visit to the prenatal clinic. In Nicholas' estimation, these women had taken the whole eating-for-two-to-nourish-the-life-growing-inside-them thing too far and went on to explain that "not every mother-to-be has to turn into an overweight, out-of-shape slob."

In a Jezebel post about Nicholas' dogmatic op-ed and the dogmatic responses it received, Tracy Moore suggested that women "...do what you need to do, and then rather than frame a narrative around that and expect other women to follow it, how about let's give all the pregnant ladies plenty of space — literal or figurative — to do the same."

14. A Facebook group exposed women who dared to eat in public.

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Women Who Eat on Tubes is a closed Facebook group that is more than 34,000 members strong. Members post photos taken of women (without their consent and often probably without their knowledge) eating as they ride the London Underground. The group says of itself: "WWEOT is observational not judgemental. It doesn't intimidate nor bully. Women are embraced and cherished. We celebrate and encourage women eating food on tubes."

Londoners disagreed. In April they protested the group and its rising popularity by packing into trains with tons of food and posting selfies as they went.

15. Instagram removed a singer-songwriter's butt selfie because it violated "mature content" rules.

Instagram: @meghantonjes / Via instagram.com

Meghan Tonjes is a body-positivity blogger whose butt selfie — captioned "Booty appreciation. #honoryourcurves #effyourbodystandards" — was removed by Instagram from her account. She believes that it was flagged by users who didn't like the size of her butt and that Instagram acted without any review.

Instagram eventually restored the photo and admitted it had made a mistake. Meghan created a video about the experience that went viral and kick-started an online conversation about body image.

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16. Walmart posted plus-size Halloween costumes under the category “fat girl costumes.”

RT America / Via youtube.com

Just before 10 a.m. on Oct. 27, Jezebel reported that Walmart's online Halloween costume shop had named the selection of plus-size items "Fat Girl Costumes." By 1:30 that afternoon, the text had been removed, and Walmart was tweeting to people who complained: "This never should have been on our site. It is unacceptable, and we apologize. We worked quickly to remove this."

18. An Ohio college student believes Instagram deleted her account because of her size.

Instagram: @snicolen58 / Via instagram.com

Samm Newman's Instagram account was deleted after she posted a photo of herself in a bra and underwear. Though the company has reinstated her account and apologized for what they said was a mistake, Newman said she believes there's a double standard on Instagram, which allows thinner women to post similar — or racier — photos and not be penalized at all.

19. All over the world, women were told what they could or couldn't wear.

AFP / Via Getty Images AFP

From the too-short prom dress that was giving boys "impure thoughts" to the burqas that posed a threat to French civil society, various entities — including schools and universities, national governments, courts, and police — deemed all kinds of clothing to be inappropriate or unlawful for turning women's bodies into apparatuses of sexual frenzy and public menace.

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