Recently, a Playboy model named Dani Mathers sparked a huge backlash after body shaming a naked woman in the gym showers at LA Fitness last week, by sending a picture of the naked woman out on Snapchat, and saying, “If I can’t unsee this, then you can’t either!”
Here’s the thing. I could give a rats ass about Dani whoever.
But I did want to say a few things to the lady in the picture (who I have further blurred out from the original photo)–because I’m not sure if anyone has bothered to say anything to her in all of this shitstorm.
Dear Lady in the Gym Shower,
I have seen all the publicity directed at the despicable post by that despicable Playboy playshit, whatever her name is. I haven’t read much outside of a few reports, and that was really enough for me.
I’m not sure if anyone wrote YOU a note: the Lady in the Shower. Or considered YOUR feelings in all of this, so I am going to do that right now. Because, well, I want to.
I’m sorry that someone was so shallow and vain and disgusting that they thought it was appropriate to take a picture of your naked body and publicly humiliate you. I think it’s funny who was doing the ridiculing, too. But I’m not here to publicly humiliate her, either–for her choice of profession, her intensely fabricated body, and her shallowness. I think she’s probably been covered enough on that front.
Here’s the thing about despicable people, though, they like to tear other people down.
I saw the picture of you, which was blacked out. And I didn’t see anything wrong with you.
Like at all.
First, kudos for you for being at the gym, when you were so wrongly humiliated. It’s not like you were sitting at Burger King, shoving a Whopper down your gullet–not like humiliation under that location would have been acceptable either–but, my point is–what a fantastic choice of location. The gym. Ah, the glorious gym.
Congratulations on doing something that makes your body happy, revitalizes your mind, and takes a step toward making you the best version of yourself possible. Whether or not that’s training for an event, finding a space of sanity in a maddeningly, busy and sometimes sad world, water aerobics, or enjoying the friendships of the other people you have met there. Good on you. You rock. I love my gym. I hope you are able to still find it to be a safe place after this–though I am sure that LA Fitness will make sure of it. Accept their free lifetime membership and any settlement they give you. [You deserve it. This whole situation is terrible, and they are glad to do what they can to make sure it doesn’t happen again to someone else.]
When I look at that picture, I see a woman. Just a woman. A woman trying to get ready for work or whatever. That’s all I see.
Upon further glance, I see a woman who is likely lived a number of years more than I have. Someone who knows so much more about the real world than I do. My favorite gym-collegues at my Lifetime Fitness are the senior water aerobics ladies. I love their bodies and their history, and there’s one who reminds me of my grandmother, and I want to hug her… [Don’t worry, I won’t, because then that would be another type of gym assault. I digress.] I don’t think you are necessarily that senior, but anyway…
My point is: I simply see a woman. A woman who has lived a little more than I have. A woman who has probably had several jobs, relationships, and figured out some tricks and tips along the way. I wish I knew some of them.
Maybe you are a woman who has raised children maybe one or two or three, or buried children–or lost children before they even had a chance. Maybe you didn’t have any children, and didn’t care to. Maybe you love your husband, or loved(d) him–or maybe you love or love(d) your wife, or maybe none of the above. Maybe you loved and lost someone very dear to you–a long time ago, or just last week. Maybe you’re in the process of sickness or pain, that’s so bloody indescribable that your morning workout is the only thing getting you through each day.
Maybe you’ve lost 100 pounds. And you’re so proud of the body you have right now.
Maybe you’ve gained 50 pounds, and you’re proud of that body, because you have struggled with eating disorders your entire life–and you are finally free.
Maybe you don’t know either way whether you have lost or gained weight–because you are at that place where you have reached Anti-Gravity Nirvana. The blessed place where women say “Screw you, Scale” and simply celebrate their own life. Maybe you are happy because you know that you’re not defined by a scale or outside expectations. I hope you are. I truly hope so.
But then, maybe you are someone like me. And this kind of incident crushed you.
Maybe it has caused you enormous pain and humiliation. Maybe it was the last straw in a struggling fitness journey, that caused you to throw your hands up and say, “Screw this! Why bother?!”
I don’t know where you are on all of this. Because I don’t know you at all. I don’t know a thing about you. Your name or anything else. I just know you are a woman–a woman who was just at the gym–a place that is a haven, a “safe” place for so many of us.
Next, I do know that what happened to you was not only illegal invasion of privacy, but it was an invasion of so much more. I am sorry this happened to you (yes, I keep repeating it. I can’t help it). And during all this mess where everyone is drawing attention to the slime who did this to you, I just wanted to say forget that idiot–and I wanted to say something to you.
I hope you know that I think you’re wonderful. I think you’re beautiful–and there was nothing to “unsee” in that photo. I hope you continue to enjoy aerobics class, or your weights, or your pool, or just the sauna, or hell, the snack bar. I hope that the gym and sweating continues to bring you joy and release and satisfaction in whatever way, in the ways it did before this incident.
Dear Lady, there’s one thing I’ve learned about people. Someone is always going to be there to tear you down. They will be there to make fun of your clothes, your run splits, or whatever else they decide is weird or good or worthy of humiliation.
And who cares about those people. Those empty people who literally spend energy and time (life’s most precious resource) on tearing you down. Such a waste. They are the real tragedies… what utter waste.
In closing, I hope you believe in you–that you love yourself and this incident was water right off your strong, gym-going back.
And if it wasn’t, I pray that you have everything and everyone in your corner to help you get through this.
I believe in YOU… in that perfectly perfect body of yours. The one that carried you to the gym, and on with your day. The body that carries you to work or through life, and down trails and through obstacles. That is a perfect body.
There’s nothing “unseeable” about you.
Forget stupid Dani Whatever her name is. You do YOU, as someone once said to me.
And Just Keep Moving Forward. In all your awesomeness.
A Fellow Unseeable-Type Body Gym-Goer