What's The Easiest Way To Negate A Woman's Success? Call Her Fat.Michelle Konstantinovsky

A simple tip for anyone seeking a quick and efficient method for negating a successful woman’s mind-blowing accomplishments: A swift and sure catty comment about her weight should do the trick.

Sure, the Kate Upton “fat” fiasco was ridiculous enough, but it truly must be open-season on body-snarking because all bets are off when Olympic athletes are fair game too.

Meet 26-year-old Australian swimmer and eight-time medallist Leisel Jones. Besides holding down several world records, as a fourth-time Olympic qualifier, she’s competed more times than any other Australian swimmer. Oh, and she first qualified and scored two silver medals at age fourteen.

At age fourteen, I held the local record for most Titanic viewings in a two-month period (seven). That’s just some perspective for you.

So yes, I’m guessing we can all agree Jones is incredible. Even those of us with limited athletic talent or know-how (just me?) can appreciate the fact that this woman has serious skills.

Now, as a general universal law, haters will always crawl out of the woodwork when someone gains success. Along with random Facebook friend requests and suspiciously unfamiliar childhood “buddies” hoping to reunite, anyone who’s achieved anything should just expect a certain level of criticism, whether it’s warranted or not.

Which is why it would have been understandable for former coaches or athletes to critique Jones’ form, comment on her speed, or compare her to other athletes. But those are all pretty civil, half-hearted attempts at tearing a person down.

Melbourne’s Herald Sun, however, opted for something simpler and more in line with the recent trends of female degradation: The paper scrutinized her weight.

“It was her appearance that had tongues wagging as much as her bid for history,” a July 24 article stated. And the writer pointed out that Jones “appears heavier than at previous meets.”

Journalism at its finest.

But wait, there’s more. The paper also ran before-and-after shots of Jones and implored readers to weigh-in (my pun, not theirs) on whether or not the swimmer is indeed overweight.

Thankfully, the paper received an overwhelming amount of responses in defense of Jones, and subsequently took down the online poll. But public scrutiny and unwarranted humiliation tend to leave their marks, so it’s hard to retract something hurtful once the damage has been done.

Jones isn’t the first famous female to be criticized for her appearance (which is just fine, should anyone care), and she certainly won’t be the last. But what makes women’s bodies such irresistible targets for condemnation, even when those bodies are the tools that ensured their success?

Whether Jones is underweight, overweight, tall, short, blonde, or brunette, the fact is that she’s undeniably talented, and undoubtedly hard working. No one reaches her level of success without determination, drive, passion, and proficiency. And anyone who thinks it’s appropriate to tear her down because the very body that garnered all that success doesn’t fit some rigid beauty standard is taking a cheap shot that’s at this point, just an unimaginative attempt at spite.

Clearly I’ll be rooting for Jones. If I can pause my Titanic DVD long enough to tune in.

Image via Speedo Australia

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000213704254 Ina Rusin

    As a swimmer, I am a huge fan of Leisel! She is a great inspiration and swims along side other great swimmers like Natalie Coughlin, Rebecca Soni, Jessica Hardy, Kate Ziegler, Chloe Sutton, Allison Schmitt, and so many others. If you look at swimmers, they don’t all have the same body type. Swimmers have a stereotype that we all have big shoulders and long arms with heavily toned muscles. I contradict that. I have small shoulders, short arms, and I’m not bulky or overly toned in any way, shape, or form. I support Leisel and I don’t think she should change for anyone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=646371109 Bettina Tyrrell

    Unfortunately the Australian Media has assumed the role of “stage parent”, offering negative criticism and unnecessary pressure rather than warm encouragement and support. Perhaps they should take the lead from South African swimmer, Chad Le Clos’s father Bert, who’s overwhelming pride when his son beat Phelps for the gold, was truly, eye-wellingly heart warming!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1076987022 Rachael Watson

    I’m an Australian and behind Leisel 100%. She has devoted most of her life to her sport and representing our country with amazing results. I’d like to see some of her detractors jump in the pool and race against her..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514731803 Kendall De Jong

    Well written! She’s an amazing athlete and the fact that they are nit picking at her physical appearance is sickening. Obviously she’s rocking life, hell, she’s at the Olympics! I send high fives to Ms. Jones and hope she doesn’t pay heed to that article or those comments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000180120838 Kati Ber

    This is so crazy!
    WHY would anyone in the world call a woman who is obviously an awesome sportswoman fat? And even if she was… who cares?
    It makes me really sad how much women reduce themselves to their weight… its like a stupid number on our scales is the only thing that matters!
    I wanna take my scales and throw them at the next so called journalist who calls any woman fat!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=865760240 Stephanie Archibald

    She is in a profession that has nothing to do with looks or weight so I don’t even know why people are talking about it whether it’s negative or not. Why is it that looks always need to be evaluated (especially women) and the person placed into a certain box? I wouldn’t pay much mind to it. The Herald Sun a newspaper? Hardly. It is just a gossip mag. And that is the articles they put in such things. Smart Australians call it the small paper for a reason.Connect with Facebook to post a comment

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1125823571 Leandra Medina

    This reminds me of a college archaeology professor who once, while lecturing on subsistence strategies among pre historic cultural groups, had the audacity to announce that just because someone is thin, does not make them heathy. The room fell completely silent. HE was a tall, lean New Yorker (just to give some background on his cultural group) . He also certainly wasn’t saying that most thin people are unhealthy, just that a persons health level is to be determined by what they are capable of doing, not how they look, and certainly not based on outside perceptions of what that person should be capable of.
    I have to fight this everyday. Because I am a size 10, not a size 00, that obviously I should not be capable of running 5 miles a day. And yet I am. And some runners in my neighborhood who are smaller in size than me seem to get pretty pissed about this. Somehow, someway, someone fatter than them is able to do more. Maybe this makes them feel fat and lazy? I have no idea, certainly not my intention. I just wanted to run!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1032881996 Miranda Cumming

    As an Aussie I am so proud of Leisel Jones. Although she didn’t medal in her event, she has done Australia proud, not only in her past achievements or her handling of this horrific media stir; but in her role as an inspiration to her fellow team members, prospective Olympians and women everywhere. Her post-race interview was classy as hell and showed a huge amount of sportsmanship, especially when other people have handled post-race interviews less than gracefully when they haven’t gotten ideal results.

    Here’s hoping Australia does well in the Medley Relay and Leisel can add to her Olympic medal collection

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=531150446 Nafisah Atcha

    I find it so riddiculous that athletes who are probably among the healthiest of us all are called fat. They have to take care of themselves and regardless, they are among some of the most inspirational people i know xxxx

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1730635548 Nikolina Serdar

      My boyfriend’s little sister is a gymnast as well and some people recently told her that she had “fat legs”. I mean, seriously?? This woman has a body fat percentage of about 16 but having muscles is supposed to make her look “fat”? How do people think she could lift her whole body weight with her arms if she hadn’t any muscles? Something’s going terribly wrong with the images of “perfection”!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=921180 Melissa Lapp

    This is awesome!! Thank you for posting.

    Melissa
    http://www.TheScaryYear.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=48916695 Jennifer McNeill

    I saw her swim yesterday: she is such a strong, powerful athlete who tore through the water at a speed that seemed humanly impossible. That is beautiful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636186651 Clare Bamford

    How dare they even criticize this woman? I mean really, she may not look like your average girl but that’s because she’s an olympic swimmer. She’s muscular and toned, rather than being tiny and thin, and how does that make her fat? Well, it doesn’t. Plus the person who choose to write that article was probably sitting on their ass in an office while she was out there training and working hard to be an amazing swimmer. These articles are getting ridiculous.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=521868096 Karie Fugett

    Typical. What a shame. Her body isn’t “too” anything. It’s an Olympic medal winner. Most will never be able to say that and would be lucky to have such a body. She’s beautiful as are the rest of the women in the Olympics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=519485604 Lucía Carvalho

    i’m from Bolivia and here is just the same. When you meet somebody that you haven’t seen in a while, the first thing they realize is how thin or fat you are. Great article and Leisel Jones is beautiful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=519485604 Lucía Carvalho

    Connect with Facebook to post a comment

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514758973 Wanda Fraser

    So very well said. Serious applause.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1744971114 Brian Ehlin

    She has a beautiful body.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=37522790 Hoja Lopez

    A coworker had a story today about going to her high school reunion recently and running into an old rival. She proceeded to rant about how this woman was so proud of her nice high powered job, was wearing beautiful clothes, seemed to be talking a little too much about being happy and thanking people for compliments on her nice car. The one thing my coworker said that seemed to make her feel better about this woman having so much more than her was the fact that she was “still fat”. No matter how much this woman has achieved, how happy she is, how beautiful she may feel, her whole life was apparently invalid on the technicality of her weight.
    What a nuisance, you could be yourself, achieve your dreams you could even be brilliant, but who gives a damn those size 16 jeans sure are getting in the way of gen pop acceptance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1609071863 Alexis Roberts

    I truly do not understand the recent trend of attacking women. I understand that in this country we tend to have a very screwed up cycle of weight self-loathing: 1. Read a retouched magazine that tells you that you are not thin enough, 2. Purchase diet accessories (magazines, systems and pills), 3. Lose weight then binge because you are not doing it in a healthy manner, 4. Have the whole cycle start over. The obsession with thinness has become toxic in the media. It only further polarizes people into two camps that will always be at a tug-of-war with each other: the-too-thin and the not-thin-enough.

    We should be praising Jones for her athletic ability and working ourselves to be that healthy. But, that is a word that is often ignored in favor of the ever elusive “thin”.

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