Some days, the news just gets you down. And I’m not even talking about the news news—I mean the fun fashion and celebrity updates that you scroll through during lunch for a mental break. Do I really need a lecture from a new Revolve sweatshirt telling me “Being Fat Is Not Beautiful, It’s An Excuse”? No. No, I don’t.
The WTF-ness of this whole situation was pretty breathtaking, largely because there’s been a chorus of women (and the magazines that cater to them) over the past few years preaching self-love—not shame—as the path to mental health, empowerment, joy, creativity, and pretty much everything juicy and amazing in life. The Twitterverse reacted swiftly, with body-positivity activists like Tess Holliday calling out Revolve’s sweatshirt as fat-shaming, which led to the company donating thousands of dollars to charity to resolve the PR fiasco.
Revolve says the image was part of a collection that was meant to raise awareness about unkind comments made to celebrities—but its no-context virality steamrolled over whatever subtlety was misguidedly intended. (Netflix’s Insatiable made a similar “we’re actually parodying fat-shaming abuse” argument—but the show sparked furious backlash when it began streaming in August. PS: It was renewed for a second season on Thursday. Sigh.)
And on top of all that, a bunch of online commenters on Wednesday felt the need to criticize Kendall Jenner for supposedly not being curvy enough in an apparent nude-photos leak of the supermodel. If ever there was an illustration of the “you just can’t win” double bind for women, it’s this.
But then, Rihanna happened.
The badass mogul has morphed into a fashion and beauty angel of late. First she revolutionized the makeup industry by designing for a broad spectrum of skin tones (and inspiring other brands to match her “Fenty 40”). And this week at New York Fashion Week she debuted her latest lingerie collection, which fits way beyond the A-through-D cup-size crowd.
When RiRi throws a party, everyone’s invited, and everyone’s on the dance floor in minimal clothing.
Streaming live Wednesday night, the Savage x Fenty Fall/Winter 2018-2019 fashion show was like a vision from a futuristic, lush, plant-lady fever dream heralding a future that, honestly, looks like a lot of fun. When RiRi throws a party, everyone’s invited and everyone’s on the dance floor in minimal clothing. There were models famous (hey, Hadid sisters) and non-famous; big and small; and a couple of lingerie-clad pregnant women for good measure. The goddess vibes were so strong, it’s a wonder that New York City didn’t short-circuit from sheer luminosity.
So, let the the trolls get their (toxic) moment in the social media sun. Like a drunk being escorted out of a bar, those old, outdated messages seem to loudly dominate when they pop up—but they’re just getting in their last-call shouts.
And mostly, they’re saying one thing: “No.” No, you can’t define what your own worth is. No, you can’t find out-of-the-box makeup that suits your complexion (unless you’re in the ivory-to-beige skin-tone range). No, you can’t be proud of those few extra pounds that give your gait a some badonk-a-bounce.
Rihanna, though, is saying “yes.” Yes to your skin tone. Yes to finding the beauty in whatever phase your body’s in—through thicc and thin. Yes to your right to wear sexy-as-hell bras and undies that fit you (instead of you having to contort yourself into them). So, take a bow, Rihanna. You’re the body-pos hero we need right now.
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