Warning: Body Shaming Can Be Hazardous to Your Freedom

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Debbie says:

In July, I wrote about former Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers, who posted an unflattering photo of an older woman changing clothes at the gym to Snapchat. She used the caption “If I can’t unsee this, then you can’t either.”

mathers

Mathers claims she just meant to send the image to a friend, not post it publicly. Somehow, that didn’t make me feel any better about her.

Although I’m far from the only body-image activist who called Mathers out, I never imagined that she might actually face any serious consequences. Jail never crossed my mind. In so many circumstances, shaming “imperfect” bodies is the socially accepted norm, not a crime or even a mis-step.

Sam Warner’s Esquire article about the photograph tells an unexpected story:

According to TMZ, the unnamed woman is in her 70s and reportedly wants to see Mathers prosecuted, and is also willing to testify.

She could be charged with Dissemination of Private Images, which carries a maximum sentence of six months. …

[Mathers] was subsequently banned from LA Fitness for life and suspended from her slot on KLOS radio, with the LA police opening an investigation.

 I didn’t know that “dissemination of private images” was a crime: I’m glad it is.I hope Dani Mathers doesn’t go to jail.  I’m too much of an activist, and have too much distrust for our penal system, to want to see almost anyone go to jail. However, the ban from the gym and the suspension of her radio program are excellent responses to her behavior. And it doesn’t bother me at all that she’s currently afraid that she might have to go to jail.

If only everyday ordinary body-shaming, the kind that doesn’t involve Playmates and national news, had real-life consequences too. Maybe someday.