What Y'all Really Want From A N-gga?
I realize this title isn't Google friendly or racially accurate, and is possibly even offensive to some, but the DMX lyric is literally the first thing that came to mind when I saw a man was being shamed for showing love to his "curvy wife" on the 'gram.
On July 30, a man named Robbie Trip posted the photo below with a tribute to his wife, gushing about her curves and explaining how he used to be teased for liking women on the "thicker side."
"I love this woman and her curvy body," he wrote. "As a teenager, I was often teased by my friends for my attraction to girls on the thicker side, ones who were shorter and curvier, girls that the average (basic) bro might refer to as "chubby" or even "fat." Then, as 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. For me, there is nothing sexier than this woman right here: thick thighs, big booty, cute little side roll, etc. Her shape and size won't be the one featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan but it's the one featured in my life and in my heart. There's nothing sexier to me than a woman who is both curvy and confident; this gorgeous girl I married fills out every inch of her jeans and is still the most beautiful one in the room. Guys, rethink what society has told you that you should desire. A real woman is not a porn star or a bikini mannequin or a movie character. She's real. She has beautiful stretch marks on her hips and cute little dimples on her booty. Girls, don't ever fool yourself by thinking you have to fit a certain mold to be loved and appreciated. There is a guy out there who is going to celebrate you for exactly who you are, someone who will love you like I love my Sarah."
Cute right? A lot of other people thought so too until a couple of ladies, most notably plus-size model Tess Holiday, took issue with what they considered to be self-serving adoration. Sharing the meme below, Tess wrote, “Stop giving men trophies for doing the bare minimum," before referencing alleged transphobic comments Tripp may or may not have made in 2015.
So we're going to act like men aren't regularly out here loving big girls in the dark and shaming them in public? I know part of the body positivity wave is to say we don't need anyone -- not even men -- to affirm us, but does that automatically make it a problem when one does?
If Tripp didn't have a large social media following, I doubt his post would have made anyone but his wife bat an eye, but because he's using his large presence to big up big girls I'm supposed to feel a way?
Tripp is literally the other side of this post that went viral in June with a woman explaining how she has finally come to see why her fit husband loves her curvy body. Yes, I get the difference is that this woman is making a self-discovery versus verbalizing observations about her husband. But if her partner were to follow up with a post like Tripp's explaining why he loves her "every roll, every curve and every stretch mark" would he be wrong?
Furthermore, I vividly remember half of the Internet going nuts over this model just this past December when it was discovered he posts weekly videos on YouTube explaining why he loves plus-size women. So what he does is cool but this man loving his wife in a public way is problematic?
Don't get me wrong. I'm the last person to hand out trophies to men for good behavior and I've absolutely been on the receiving end of one too many compliments about my body to the point that I thought the man might really assume I'd have a cookie somewhere to give him. But I'm personally over how all of these "viral" sentiments ebb and flow. One minute we need allies in the body positivity movement, the next minute we don't want men to affirm us.
Honestly, I think the most important part of what Tripp said wasn't about his wife, it was his message to other men. The fact that a man actually took the time to try to educate another man just might deserve a trophy for the simple rarity of it. Just because we love ourselves and are comfortable with our bodies doesn't mean we have to act like everyone else is. There wouldn't be a movement if they were. Some men have been conditioned to see thicker women as unattractive; some men have been clowned by other men for dating thicker women. I don't gather from Tripp's post that he's saying, "Hey, give me a pat on the back I was able to look past this woman's undesirable frame to fall in love with her." He's saying he was able to get beyond society's conditioning of what beauty is which led him to his wife and that's no small feat. Most women can't even get to that point when it comes to their own bodies.
So let's chill a bit. Ol' boy did a good thing and the fact that his post went viral just speaks to how starved women are to hear fuller figured women appreciated in this manner. You don't have to give the man a trophy if you don't want to, but you don't have to shit on him either.