The Body Positive Movement Needs More Than Robbie Tripp’s Faux-Allyship
We really shouldn’t be applauding men for finding their wives attractive while we regularly deride fat women who love themselves without the male gaze.
BY TIFFANIE WOODS
It only took 5 minutes for me to hate the newest viral sensation that hit the interwebs last week in the form of Robbie Tripp. If you’ve been plugged into any social media outlet, I’m sure you’ve read an article or seen a picture of Robbie and his wife Sarah, and the nauseating faux body posi Instagram post he published yesterday.
In the post, Robbie goes into detail to explain why he loves his wife. That’s nice right? That’s what I thought after reading the headline of Buzzfeed’s article about the couple. But a few lines into the article had my eyes rolling in the back of my head so hard I thought they would stick.
A man letting the world know how beautiful he thinks his wife is cute, except that Tripp centers his own experiences with being attracted to thick girls – he centers the bullying he faced when he was a teenager instead of highlighting Sarah’s own experiences with her body. By constantly pointing out and objectifying his wife’s body and humanizing himself, Tripp shows just how little he actually gets feminism.
But hey, lets give this man a standing ovation for loving the woman he married because she has some cellulite and isn’t a size two.
In theory, this could’ve been a good post. Had Robbie gone in-depth on any of the topics he mentioned; why he was teased for liking plus-size women, why it’s okay to not be a size zero, why today’s beauty standards aren’t realistic and are dangerous. It could’ve been informative to address fatphobia and educate his hundreds of thousands of followers.
Instead, he listed these points taken directly from the fat and body posi movement as if he was promoting any other item on Instagram to add to his “brand” and reach a new audience. The post seemed like a fetishization of fatness or as a way to get the fat girls who follow his wife to swoon over him as the above Buzzfeed article suggests.
This is even more bizarre when you take into consideration that his wife is a plus size beauty blogger who regularly talks about body positivity and the importance of breaking the barriers that fashion and mainstream media put on plus-size women. Robbie had all of the tools to make this post bigger than himself at his disposal, and he fell short.
In reality, fatphobia affects millions of people and it’s not just those with “thick thighs, big booty, cute little side roll” as Robbie puts it. What he describes is what we call a “good fat” – someone with a relatively flat stomach, thin face, and fat where it counts. This is only one type of person who in the fight against fatphobia has it a little easier than most. They have it easier than those people who are not “good fats”. These “bad fats” the ones who have fat stomachs, double chins, cellulite on multiple areas of their body (not just their fat booties), or thighs that rub together. They aren’t afforded the same passes as say, Sarah Tripp who in the photo he posts is wearing a bathing suit that many plus-size women would never dare to wear.
This isn’t to say that Robbie or Sarah have to fight everyone’s fight. Had his post really just been meant for his wife that would be one thing. But Robbie clearly makes it as a larger call to men who follow him, when he addresses them in his closing and makes the argument “guys, rethink what society has told you that you should desire.” If you are going to take a stance and use your platform, make sure it’s a good one. If you’re going to lazily address a trending topic to attract some attention, be ready to address any critiques you may get.
In the Tripps case, this has come in the form of outrage on Twitter for his complete lack of knowledge of fat and body positivity, people dragging them for their previous racist and transphobic remarks, and articles like this one calling out just how bad he missed the mark on his supposed body posi Instagram post. Instead of saying that a “real woman is not a porn star or a bikini mannequin or a movie character,” Tripp can look to the numerous resources available to accomplices and allies to the body positive and feminist movement. We really shouldn’t be applauding men for finding their wives attractive while we regularly deride fat women who love themselves without the male gaze. We need to do better.
Author Bio: Tiffanie Woods is a human living in Boston and just trying to live her best life. Most of her time is spent talking about pop culture on her podcast “Spill It” and trying to get that perfect Instagram shot without breaking a nail. Follow Tiffanie on Twitter and Instagram.