Friday, 15 July 2016

Model Photographs and Shames Naked Woman at Her Gym

IMG_1846[1]Dani Mathers is a former Playmate of the Year, and is currently spending her time taking pictures of naked women in her gym’s locker room and then sending them out via snapchat with body shaming captions. (Thanks to reader KC for letting me know about this.)

You read that right. Dani took a picture of a naked woman who was just trying to shower in the gym’s locker room and captioned it”If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either”, then Dani took a Selfie with her hand over her mouth, then Dani sent them out via Snapchat.

After many people reacted with rage (thank you decent people of the world) Dani posted an apology video, which I will break down bit by bit.

I just want to acknowledge a photo that I accidentally posted.

Accidentally?  You took the time to take two pictures, write a caption and post them to social media. Out of curiosity,  what would you have done if you were trying to do this on purpose?

It was absolutely wrong and not what I meant to do.

What exactly did you “mean to do” when you took a picture of a naked woman in a locker room without her knowledge or consent?

I chose to do what I do for a living because I love the female body and I know body shaming is wrong, that’s not what I’m about and this is not the type of person I am.

It is the type of person you are, and the way that I know that is that you fucking did it. You saw a woman taking a shower in your gym and your first thought was to take a picture of her without her knowledge or consent, then send it out via social media to body shame her. That’s the type of person you are.  You can become a different type of person, and you should, but it’s doing to take real work to unlearn the prejudices that are now so ingrained.

The photo was taken as part of a personal conversation with a girlfriend and because I am new to Snapchat I didn’t realise I had posted it, and that was a huge mistake.

Let’s go over this again:  It is not ok to take a naked picture of someone without their knowledge or permission. It’s doesn’t matter if you planned to share it with the world, your girlfriend, or keep it for your private collection.  Holy fuckballs lady. Quit apologizing for posting the picture and start apologizing for taking the damn picture.

I know I have upset a lot of people out there but please believe me this is not the type of person that I am. I have never done this before and I will never do this again, you have my word.’

Here’s hoping – especially for the women who just want to take a shower in your gym.  (It’s not lost on me that Trans people are being denied their basic right to use bathrooms and locker rooms based on bullshit claims that they will do what this woman actually did – does that mean we’ll have laws that try to preclude models and/or Playboy bunnies from using the facilities?)

In the first few minutes after hearing this all I could think of was whether she could be prosecuted or this, and then unrealistic and inappropriate ways that I wanted to help educate her.  I considered getting a group of women of different ages and sizes to follow her around, naked, until she can respect the diversity of body sizes. I considered trying to publish the unphotoshopped versions and outtakes from her modeling sessions – after all, if this woman who is just trying to take a shower doesn’t get Photoshop or her choice of poses, why should Dani?  I thought about encouraging naked women of diverse body sizes to send their pictures to Dani with the hashtags #unseethis and #takenwithpermission Meanwhile I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the woman in the picture isn’t suffering because of this, and that nobody publicizes a response pretending to be her.

My rage isn’t so much for me – I’m lucky that I’ve found a path that has left me comfortable with my body and clear that the problem is with body shamers and not with me.  Most of my rage is reserved for women who will now be afraid to go to their gym, to change in the locker room, to take a shower, lest some chick with a self-esteem problem and a cellphone be hiding around the corner loading up Snapchat. My rage is for women who will internalize Dani’s bullshit body shame and women whose greatest fears of being at the gym were reinforced and realized today. No apology can fix that.

Here’s what I know is true:

Yes, it’s ok to be fat.

Yes, you are worthy no matter what.

I also know that this makes me twice as interested in using my gym’s locker room to change and shower, to claim and own that space for bodies of all sizes who want to be there, including mine. Don’t like it? Well that’s just too damn bad.


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