Everyday sadism

So another item from the Washington Post snagged my attention while I was reading the first one – sidebars work, kids! It snagged my attention so I read it, in horror.

A Playboy Playmate found this normal woman’s naked body gross. So she posted it online.

Because it’s important for the world at large to see and judge random people’s naked bodies.

Dani Mathers, Playboy’s 2015 Playmate of the Year, was at L.A. Fitness on Wednesday when the body of a fellow gym-goer offended her. The 29-year-old took to Snapchat to post the woman’s body — naked, on her story.

The caption: “If I can’t see unsee this then you can’t either.” It pictured Mathers, sporting weight-lifting gloves and a Nike tank top, covering her mouth in false-shock. What resulted was likely thousands looking at this woman’s nude body, fat-shamed by a blond Playmate, on Mathers’s public Snapchat.

Image result for dani mathers snapchat

Now it’s her turn to be shamed all over social media, so in a sense I shouldn’t join in by blogging about it…But I am anyway, because this kind of casual sadism interests me. It interests me partly, but only partly, because I’ve been subjected to a huge amount of it myself. Because of that I’ve learned that there are a surprisingly large number of people who are ostensibly adult, intelligent, in some sense thoughtful, who are perfectly comfortable doing this kind of thing. That is surprising to me, because it seems like being perfectly comfortable touching a red-hot stove burner.

What possessed her? What caused her to feel (rather than think) that her distaste for a stranger’s body justified her in taking a picture of it and publishing the picture online? What causes people to feel that way?

I suppose it’s partly to do with the relentless perfectionism of US media culture and porn culture, with the relentless exclusion from tv and movies of women who are too old too fat too plain too average too ordinary too flawed too not like a Playboy model. I suppose it’s partly to do with a culture that pretends women who are lawyers look like Julianna Margulies and women who are cops look like Mariska Hargitay. That perhaps partly explains the demented perfectionism, but it doesn’t explain the sadism.

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