Comedian Iliza Shlesinger on body shaming: When you're proud of your body 'they tell you to tone it down'

Comedian Iliza Shlesinger, who is known for her hilarious Netflix specials like Confirmed Kills, stopped by AOL Build Studio on Tuesday, to chat about her brand-new book, Girl LogicAccording to Shlesinger, girl logic is “a characteristically female way of thinking that appears to be contradictory and circuitous but is actually a complicated and highly evolved way of considering every choice and its repercussions before we make a move toward what we want.”

Iliza Shlesinger on stage at BUILD. [Photo: Getty Images]

While on the Build stage, Shlesinger hashed out the finer points of girl logic and also spouted wisdom about some other tricky logic as well: the logic applied to how the media treats women’s bodies. The conversation started over the revelation that when you type Iliza Shlesinger’s name into Google, the first autofill is “abs.”

Shlesinger takes good care of her body, and even just a quick journey through her Instagram yields a lot of workout shots and ab envy. You would think a woman who takes care of her body and shows off the work she’s put in would be accepted for doing so, but Shlesinger says that’s not so.

 

“It’s a fine line,” she said on the Build stage. “Society wants you to be thin, wants you to work out, wants you to look a certain way, but if and when you do achieve a body that you’re proud of, they tell you to tone it down. ‘Oh you’re showy, oh, it’s too much, oh you’re cocky.'”

“I post them,” she says of the pictures of herself working out. “And in my first Netflix special I was, like, half naked, because I very much wanted to throw it back in social media’s face. Like, you require us to look a certain way, and I actually do, and now you’re criticizing me for that because I’m too proud.”

Shlesinger’s observations and actions shouldn’t be revolutionary, but in this climate of scrutiny and sexism they are. By what she wears and posts Shlesinger is calling the unreachable (often contradictory) standards women are held to, onto the floor. Be thin but not too thin. Work out but don’t get too excited when the work you’ve put in starts to visibly pay off. The point being, society’s expectation for women and their bodies is a tightrope walk where nearly everyone falls. Shlesinger offers a simple solution though: “What if we just let women love what they love about themselves and let it be?” The live audience in the Build Studio cheered.

Perhaps the new Iliza Shlesinger autofill word should be “inspiration.”

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