“People of Walmart – Funny Pictures of People Shopping at Walmart.” Their slogan might be more accurate if they changed it to “Body Policing at its Finest.” Now, I understand rolling your eyes at something silly someone does at the store, or a weird way someone wears their hair. More specifically, I can totally understand “cringe-worthy” outfits that don’t support someone’s body type as I’m an avid What Not To Wear fan. But People of Walmart really sets the standard for public shaming, no matter what the reason. You can be fat, skinny, black, white, short, tall, male, female – it doesn’t matter. If there’s something off about you, even in the smallest sense, you could be subject to getting posted on this site.
I will say, however, that most of the policing on the site of “funny pictures of people shopping” is of bigger people. Fatness has always been a target of shame and the butt of a joke, and this site is no different. Take for example Bazooka Josephine.
Whoever posted this tagged it with things like “Creature Feature” and “Funny.” While this outfit isn’t to my personal taste, and I’d probably do a double-take in the store if I saw “Bazooka Josephine,” I don’t see the need of posting it with that caption, or with those tags. Posting it at all is dubious because, while I don’t doubt that most people have had a laugh at someone wearing a kooky outfit, the point of these pictures is to get votes and ratings. And the comments just rip this person to shreds. One person said, quite bluntly, “i think that’s a guy” which sparked a little sub-thread of comments calling “Bazooka Josephine” a transvestite, questioning whether they had a sex change operation; “whatever it is it’s frigging disgusting,” says one commenter, subsequently wondering “what sick individual would be blind enough or perverted enough to hit that.” I think the most shocking comment, however, came from someone who came to the defense of fat women… except not really.
Is it just my imagination, or have people taken “casual” to a whole new subterranean level?
And it is not only “fat women.” People of all shapes, sizes, and genders go around in get-ups that the average toothless transient would be embarrassed to be seen in.
By the way, I am a disabled “fat woman,” and I have way too much self-respect to go out in public looking sloppy. The other day, when I went to the neighborhood pharmacy to get a flu shot, I wore a short-sleeve tee in a flattering color(deep red), a denim blazer, khaki pants, a bit of makeup, and clean, styled hair.
It’s not rocket science!
As if, because she is fat too, she gets to shame all other fat women because she rises above them with her “self-respect” and because she doesn’t look “sloppy” in public. The fact that this person was on this website actively commenting and what that says about their character aside, just because you share some physical qualities with someone doesn’t mean you get to dictate what they do with their body. As a brunette, I don’t tell other brunettes what to do with their hair. There is no background, no context, no story with the picture other than the made-up name/post title (“Bazooka Josephine”) and the caption and tags. Who knows why Josephine wore what they wore? Who cares if the skirt is too short, or if her belly is hanging out?
Not everyone has the confidence, knowledge, money, or just simply the time to dress in a way that flatters their body – and the emphasis here is that it’s to flatter their bodies as others see them. Which brings me back to What Not To Wear, in a way. What people like to wear and what makes them happy or comfortable or confident or whatever is their business – but certain social conventions require us, as members of society, to conform to them. For example, the way you dress, from the way you wear or style your hair, to your makeup/lack of makeup/too much makeup, to the shoes on your feet, to the hair on your legs or lack thereof – all of these are important if you’re going for a job interview (depending on the job) or, more accurately, if you’re going to apply for a loan from the bank. If you look “presentable” and “clean-cut” you seem more reliable, I suppose. But at Walmart? Why do we need to dress up if we’re picking up toilet paper and milk? Josephine might have felt really confident that day wearing what they did, might have liked how their body looked in that outfit. And, honestly, I think it takes a lot of confidence to wear anything that short no matter who you are.