Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Topic of the Day: Feminist Hero Celebrates “Thick Women With Cute Little Side Rolls”

Late last week, a dude’s instagram post went viral when he gushed about how much he loves his wife’s curvy figure, “big booty,” “thick thighs,” “cute little side roll,” “beautiful stretch marks” and all. His post, which you can read in its entirety after the jump, has garnered over 34k likes, and was featured on the Today Show, ABC News, and others. The man is being heralded as some sort of body positive feminist hero because he had the nerve to celebrate his love of THICK WOMEN. But plenty of critics (myself included) are rolling their eyes and satirizing the self-congratulatory message from a guy who bravely admits he appreciates an aesthetic that isn’t celebrated in the mainstream or among high school boys or featured on the cover of Cosmo. After the jump, the post that started it all, and one woman’s reversal of the post, re-writing it from a wife’s perspective about her pale, skinny husband.

Ew, right? I mean, great that Robbie Tripp is so attracted to his wife. But the profession of this attraction, as if it’s special — as if HE is special — because he can appreciate something that he thinks many others don’t is just gross. It’s insulting. But Sarah, his wife, is not insulted. In an interview with Women’s Health, she gushes right back about her husband and how wonderful his post was and how he tells her every day how beautiful she is (and she is! I just don’t get what is noteworthy about a husband appreciating his beautiful wife’s beauty). Note: there is no mention, in the wife’s interview or any of the recent Instagram posts from either of their accounts, about her feelings about his appearance. Where’s her gushing about his skinny arms and, um, interesting fashion sense, and close-together eyes?

Here, a writer imagines what such a post might look like written from a wife’s perspective about her husband:

“I love this man and his thin, pale body. As a teenager, I was often teased by my friends for my attraction to skinny guys with questionable facial hair, ones who were weaker and not athletic, boys that the average (basic) chick might refer to as “pasty” or even “mediocre.” Then, as I became a woman and started to educate myself on issues such as how the media constantly applauds men for everything they do, I realized how many men have bought into that lie. For me, there is nothing sexier than this man right here: weak chin, pale legs, cute little Miami Vice-era facial hair, etc. His shape and size won’t be the one featured on the cover of Esquire, but it’s the one featured in my life and in my heart. There’s nothing sexier to me than a man who is both totally average and confident; this cute man I married has never filled out a muscle shirt in his life and is still the hottest guy in the room. Girls, rethink what society has told you that you should desire. A real man is not a porn star or a underwear model or a movie character. He’s real. He has quirky facial hair, a receding hair line, beautiful scrawny legs and cute pale arms. Boys, don’t ever fool yourself by thinking you have to fit a certain mold to be loved and appreciated. There is a girl out there who is going to celebrate you for exactly who you are, someone who will love you like I love my Robbie.”

Could you imagine if a post like that went viral? If the husband did interviews with men’s fitness magazines about how awesome his wife is and how great her love for his body makes him feel? Never. It would never happen. And not just because we don’t dissect male bodies like we do women’s bodies, but because everyone would think the wife was trying to tear her husband down, embarrass him, shame him. Because it’s weird to simultaneously call attention to perceived flaws, congratulate yourself for seeing the beauty in them, and admonish others as “basic,” “average,” and unevolved if they don’t. But then maybe I’m just an angry feminist who’s simply over women’s bodies being used to make men feel more manly…

44 comments… add one
  • avatar

    RedRoverRedRover August 8, 2017, 9:41 am

    As someone who was extremely skinny all through highschool and beyond, I’m sick to death of all this “real woman” shit. I’ve been told my whole life I’m not a “real woman” because I had no boobs and I was so skinny my teachers thought I had an eating disorder. And believe me, maybe it’s different now, but back then being skeletal was NOT considered attractive by guys. So not only did I have the “wrong” body, but on top of that I wasn’t even a real woman! I guess I’m a real woman now that I’ve got some post-baby weight on. Yay.

    How about this? How about we can just let people be, without constantly judging their bodies? One social site that I frequent is just the worst. It’s mostly youngish men, and anytime there’s a pic of a woman they all have to jump in with their opinions of whether she’s hot or not, and whether they’d sleep with her. It’s like they don’t realize that they’re saying this in public, in front of women. It’s no different than announcing it in the middle of a busy shopping mall. Would they do that? Then why do they think it’s ok online?

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    • avatar

      Janelle August 8, 2017, 10:08 am

      Yes! Can it please stop. I’ve had women walk behind me and insult me about eating more. I’m so tired of the double standard that we should embrace “curvier” women (which by the way is my least favorite word ever) but it’s ok to insult thin women.

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      • Copa

        Copa August 8, 2017, 2:40 pm

        Yeah, so, a friend of mine is naturally very, very thin. She recently lost weight from months of GI issues while doctors were figuring out what was going on. She recently told me she has been on the receiving end of so many comments from acquaintances and even strangers about her weight and how she “doesn’t look like she eats” and “needs to eat a cheeseburger.” She told me she feels the double standard, too.

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    • juliecatharine

      juliecatharine August 8, 2017, 10:09 am

      Two sides of the same coin Red and it’s bullshit either way.

      People really need more interesting things to focus on than the shape of a woman’s body.

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    • Copa

      Copa August 8, 2017, 12:13 pm

      The only thing Robbie nailed about “real women” is that no, mannequins are not real women.

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      • avatar

        Kate August 8, 2017, 2:09 pm

        Right… um, a porn star is a real woman, buddy. He seems to think they’re actually objects, like mannequins.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor August 8, 2017, 9:49 am

    I feel a little bad for this guy. I know that he put it on instagram but he was probably just trying to say something nice (albeit ill conceived) about his wife to his friends and family and he’s been kind of pilloried for it.

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    • avatar

      K August 8, 2017, 9:58 am

      What’s so amusing is this was on Twitter and every female response was like Wendy’s (but less polite) and every single male response was exactly like Fyodor. Like…verbatim.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy August 8, 2017, 10:16 am

      He’s being totally celebrated for it! Tv appearances, interviews, and thousands upon thousands virtual pats on the back! And he’s eating it up and riding the 15 minutes of fame wave as far as it will take him. Only a man could call attention to his partner’s ass cellulite and side rolls and get flown across country for media appearances and lauded as some kind of hero.

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      • Guy Friday

        Guy Friday August 8, 2017, 10:33 am

        I agree that the interviews are a little much (though I’m not sure his not deleting people who like his post is somehow a reflection of HIM.) Let’s assume though, for the sake of this argument, that he is in fact sincere about being a voice that calls out men for marginalizing women who don’t meet society’s “beautiful woman” standards. Could it be that he thinks this is a chance for somebody, ANYBODY, to get up and say these things, and THAT’S why he’s doing the interviews?

        I mean, I agree with Fyodor insofar as I don’t think he posted this with an eye toward going viral. And, yeah, maybe some of the comments aren’t ones we’d be crazy about, but if his wife is saying “I love that he wrote this about me, and I don’t mind at all,” isn’t her opinion the one that should govern reactions about the language and descriptors he used?

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy August 8, 2017, 10:41 am

        No, not really, because this isn’t just a message about his opinion of his wife’s body. This is also an opinion about what other men like and how they aren’t doing it right, but most of all, this is a proclamation about the meaning and message of feminism and his understanding of it, which is wrong. He writes: “I became a man and started to educate myself on issues such as feminism and how the media marginalizes women by portraying a very narrow and very specific standard of beauty (thin, tall, lean) I realized how many men have bought into that lie.”First of all, it’s not a “lie” if a man likes a particular aesthetic (thin, tall, lean) and it’s not a “lie” that that aesthetic is beautiful to some (or even many or most), just as it isn’t a “lie” that he likes a different aesthetic. And it isn’t really a feminist message to call the portrayal of a woman’s body type (thin, tall, lean) as beautiful a “lie.” It isn’t a feminist message to dissect women’s bodies at all, even if it’s proclaiming diverse body types beautiful.

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      • avatar

        ktfran August 8, 2017, 10:51 am

        Is thin, tall and lean even a preferred body type anymore? Men also like women with a curvy butt and large breasts. A lot of average women who happen to be thin, tall and lean won’t have that.

        That’s why his post annoyed me so much. There are SO MANY BODY TYPES. And people are attracted to so many different body types that his proclamation is ridiculous.

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      • avatar

        RedroverRedrover August 8, 2017, 11:02 am

        Not to mention, he’s literally doing the same thing that he’s criticizing. “Hey everyone, it’s wrong to disparage body type X in favour of body type Y! Instead, what we *should* be doing is disparaging body type Y in favour of body type X! Here, I’ll start.”

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy August 8, 2017, 11:06 am

        Totally!

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    • avatar

      RedroverRedrover August 8, 2017, 10:35 am

      I see what you’re saying, but “he’s just trying to be nice” doesn’t really excuse this kind of patronizing crap. I’m sure he didn’t realize how it would come off, but isn’t that, like, a huge problem??? His message for women was that they shouldn’t stress about how they look because they’ll eventually find a man who loves them anyway. Oh wait no, that wasn’t a message for women, it was a message for “girls”. And his “advice” presupposes that women are defined by whether or not a man loves them. How about don’t worry about how you look because you can kick ass at a whole bunch of other areas of your life too? And that looks are a stupid yardstick for all of us to be measuring women by? And that if we want to find love, being a complete person who is comfortable with herself is the way to do that?

      Like, yeah, sucks for him that he’s getting blowback. But he’s getting it for the words he chose to write and make public, so I don’t feel sorry for him. Plus as Wendy said, he’s getting tons of accolades for it too, which is all kinds of fucked up.

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      • kmtthat

        kmtthat August 8, 2017, 10:48 am

        I loved every thing you wrote, and I heartily second! I am so sick of men being applauded for being normal human beings and feeling the need to explain to women how we should feel about ourselves. It’s right up there with men “babysitting” their kids or being applauded for braiding their daughters hair. Being with someone you find attractive that doesn’t look like a movie star is expected with women (and shit – even that you DON’T find attractive, but should because he haz teh monies or something), so why do we care what this dude thinks?

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy August 8, 2017, 10:54 am

        Amen! The whole “don’t worry, chubby girls, one day you, too, will be lucky enough to find an evolved guy who will love your side rolls and dimpled booty just as much as I love my girls'” gives me the creeps. As if that’s : a) hard to find (honestly, men who like curves AREN’T THAT RARE!); b) the path to true happiness. Ugh.

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      • avatar

        Janelle August 8, 2017, 12:45 pm

        @kmtthat Don’t even get me started about men “babysitting” their kids. Infuriates me.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros August 8, 2017, 12:39 pm

      I think there would be have been less backlash if it hadn’t been propped up as heroic by people on social media and on the news and stuff. It would have probably been unnoticed by everyone and nothing would have happened. To me, it comes off as more of a humblebrag, but the initial over-the-top response to it really highlighted the bigger societal issues.

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  • avatar

    Kate August 8, 2017, 9:56 am

    Yeah, eye roll. My dad has said he likes smart brunettes, but he doesn’t pay himself on the back for having a wife of 46 years who’s short, pear-shaped, and has cellulite. My mom would shit a brick. Jeez.

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    • avatar

      Kate August 8, 2017, 9:57 am

      *pat

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  • avatar

    Ale August 8, 2017, 10:05 am

    Maybe he hasn’t really “become a man” and still needs to validate his choices and do it (gasp!) in social media. I would be seriously pissed if that was my husband. This is seriously mansplaining all over again. This is a man telling women that they need to be comfortable with their bodies. A man telling women that there is nothing wrong with being curvy because there is still a man for you. Dude needs to reevaluate his concept of feminism.

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  • juliecatharine

    juliecatharine August 8, 2017, 10:13 am

    I don’t remember the play very well but I wish we could adopt one of Eve Ensler’s themes in “The Good Body”. She compares people to the shape of trees–some trees are tall and skinny, some are short and fat, and all sorts of things in between and we accept them as they are because that’s just how they’re built. It would be so nice if we could apply that to people.

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  • avatar

    haggith August 8, 2017, 10:17 am

    Oh, don’t be mean to this guy; he just wanted his cookie… (eyeroll)

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  • avatar

    Kate August 8, 2017, 10:27 am

    Also, she appears to me to be smaller than the average size-16, 165lb American woman.

    Anyway, if you love your wife and think she’s beautiful, *just say that.* I have pretty strong body image, but I would not appreciate my husband dissecting my body like that, and he wouldn’t either if I did it. He knows he’s got super-skinny legs and will joke about it, but he doesn’t need me talking about them on social media.

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    • avatar

      FannyBrice August 8, 2017, 12:49 pm

      Ugh that is exactly why I hate this post. Ok, dude, you love your very pretty wife who happens to have a……completely average-sized body and cellulite (as do most women). And for that you want praise? Ick.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy August 8, 2017, 11:04 am

    OMG, you guys have to check out his instagram stories. The self-congratulatory tone and the endless brags over his media attention is nauseating. I can’t believe it’s such a big deal that a man is super attracted to his beautiful wife! Are we really supposed to be so impressed that he’s attracted to a woman who has a big butt? I don’t get it.

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    • Cleopatra Jones

      Cleopatra Jones August 8, 2017, 1:31 pm

      In my experience, the people who brag that much about how wonderful their love is, or how beautiful/special their SO are usually lying to make everyone think they have a wonderful life. Let’s check in on this dude in 5 years, to see if they are even still married.

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  • avatar

    ktfran August 8, 2017, 11:30 am

    Seriously. I’ve lost count of all the ick factors of this dude’s post.

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  • avatar

    Janelle August 8, 2017, 11:44 am

    I have to note that, regardless of if I had them or not, my SO pointing out that I do in fact have “fat rolls and cellulite” would not be met with a smile on my part.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros August 8, 2017, 12:41 pm

      Yes! I feel like he thinks that because she has his approval of her figure, then she has no reason to feel pressure from the rest of society.

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  • avatar

    Teri Anne August 8, 2017, 1:17 pm

    Why should we congratulate a man for being attracted to his beautiful wife? Yes she has curves, but she is not very overweight. It is the unflattering thong style bathing suit makes her look heavier than she really is.

    Like many commentators, I resent the idea that thin women are not “real” women and that thin women are somehow superficial. I have met naturally thin women who have been hurt by these stereotypes.

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  • avatar

    Emily August 8, 2017, 1:24 pm

    His post makes it seem like her value is her body/looks and he, as a man/her husband/WHATEVER, has not only a right but a DUTY to comment on it and deem it of good value or bad. That has nothing to do with feminism or the message of being a feminist or accepting of other people.

    It’s gross.

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  • avatar

    Northern Star August 8, 2017, 2:00 pm

    The post seems so immature (OMG, he’s just discovered that physical attractiveness come in multiple sizes!). Every generation discovering sex thinks they invented it.

    But it’s really just an indictment of the shallow losers he hangs out with. None of my friends or family would bat an eye at a larger woman finding love.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny August 8, 2017, 2:55 pm

    People (men?) like this really need to take a figure drawing class early on in their adult lives. *That* will really show you how different the human body can look from one person to the next! And frankly, it made me appreciate physical differences more once I had to take a good look at them.

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  • avatar

    Kate August 8, 2017, 3:11 pm

    Oh, I just bothered looking at his Instagram and he’s just a big cheesy attention whore. All they seem to do is dress up in outfits and take staged photos. For her blog maybe? Anyway, this feels really calculated.

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    • avatar

      Kate August 8, 2017, 3:18 pm

      And scrolling through those pictures, she in fact has a conventionally attractive body type – big boobs, big butt, small waist. She’s not “chubby” or “fat.”

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  • avatar

    carolann August 8, 2017, 3:23 pm

    I am with guyfriday and fyodor on this one.

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  • avatar

    Ashley August 8, 2017, 5:29 pm

    I think part of it too…is we are bombarded now with body positivy crap that does little more than ask for the poster to be adulated. Headline I’ve read recently “Demi lovato post selfie encouraging fans to accept this part of their body blah blah blah” “celebs without make up!” “Alicia keys with no make up!” It’s frustrating because there is real work to be done, but this is what we get.

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    • avatar

      YoYo August 8, 2017, 10:41 pm

      I saw an Instagram post today, and the gist was “I don’t find my stretch marks, acne, cellulite, etc. beautiful, I just find them human. I don’t have to be beautiful all of the time to be accepted.” I think it fits your point well! Body positivity is great, but why define it by “attractiveness?” Like, it’s just part of having a human body! Some people wear makeup, some don’t, some have stretch marks, some don’t have curves, whatever! Those features don’t tell you much about the kind of person beneath them.

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  • avatar

    Bittergaymark August 8, 2017, 7:10 pm

    Staying out of this one — other than saying that the only reason this vapid post blew up so was some silly, vapid person thought it was oh so very fucking deep and thus made a really big deal out of it. Bah! I am so tired of this kind of shit going viral. It’s just another sorry sign of how fucking dumbed down we are as a culture. ENOUGH!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy August 9, 2017, 7:30 am

      I’m with you BGM – I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we have President Trump at the same time a man can be praised and lauded as some sort of hero for loving his pretty wife. Our culture is dumb.

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  • avatar

    joanna August 8, 2017, 7:11 pm

    I thought this was a good response to it too.

    http://www.scarymommy.com/why-praise-men-loving-fat-women/

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  • avatar

    Ange August 8, 2017, 8:24 pm

    Ugh these two are both racist, transphobic and all that so they can take several seats.

    Secondly while I’m decidedly average size I have put on a few kilos since RA and age came to play and my husband would never, EVER talk like that about me. To him he’s the luckiest guy in the world I even decided to date him, he doesn’t need to be congratulated because he feels like he’s the winner. If someone tried to tell him I was a fatty he wouldn’t even give that person the time of day. He doesn’t NOTICE that I have dimples or a fat arse or whatever because he thinks I’m gorgeous. I think that’s why this post annoyed me so much.

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