The whacky world of social media can be a messy place. Yesterday, this proved to be true yet again when actress, Amanda Seyfried, and Something Navy Influencer, Arielle Charnas, traded jabs over (you guessed it) a bikini picture. Only on Instagram…am I right. Now the Mean Girls actress is being accused of bullying by fans and critics alike. But just what went down between these two women?
It all started when Charnas posted a classic Influencer mirror picture of herself in a bikini to her Instagram feed. Underneath the picture, the Something Navy founder wrote, “Proud of my body after two kids.” What seemed to be an innocent picture quickly sparked controversy. Some fans accused Charnas of being tone deaf and promoting and unattainable and unhealthy body image to her 1.2 million followers. Amongst the critics was a friend of Seyfried’s, who also said that Charnas wasn’t doing her due diligence because she didn’t call attention to the privilege that helped her achieve and maintain her body.
The Something Navy owner quickly blocked Seyfried’s friend and the Dear John actress from her page. Seyfried then took it amongst herself to post her friend’s original comments to her feed with her own added commentary. “Fu*k it- this is feed material. My very smart friend (again-not tagging) wrote this on a semi-influencer’s feed and she blocked both of us (even though I didn’t tag her at least she’s getting the message).” Seyfried began.
The power of influence
The Mamma Mia! actress then continued on to talk about the responsibility that influencers have to discuss important issues. “If we’re ready to get paid for flaunting our lifestyle (and inspiring some in the meantime) we have to be open to the discussions surrounding what we’re promoting. We have to back ourselves up- not run away from the issues it presents. There are gray areas everywhere. Each of us has a chance to back ourselves- especially on this platform. If you know who you are- take a second to decide if what you’re throwing out there is worth it- in the big picture” she concluded.
Though Seyfried’s heart may have been in the right place, her post was pretty tone deaf itself. Using her platform and influence to comment on another woman’s body and lifestyle is simply absurd. Seyfried could’ve made this argument with zero references to the bikini picture and it would’ve been salient. The inclusion of the callout to Charnas (because tag or no tag, we all know who it is) made it personal in a way that leaves a bad taste in our mouths.
Arielle Charnas’ Instagram story response
Of course, Charnas felt personally attacked by Seyfried’s post and she wrote the following in a since-expired Instagram story. “Why am I being bullied for posting myself in a bathing suit? I should be punished because I’m thin and worked hard to be fit after giving birth to two kids? I’m not responsible for making people feel good about themselves” the Influencer declared.
Charnas isn’t alone in her sentiments. Others have also chimed in to let Seyfried know that she made a poor judgment call. “This seems like high school bullying. Leave the girl alone. If she wants to post a picture of her thin body that’s she is proud of, let her. This post screams jealously to me. Be kind, to everyone” one user wrote. Others called out the fact that her friend’s wording was condescending and expressed that postpartum body image issues are far more complex than Seyfried was acknowledging.
Mind your business
This whole exchange makes us very tired. To be honest, valid points were made on both sides, but this is an instance that would have been best handled by everyone minding their own business. Body image is such a sensitive topic, especially for women, and neither Seyfried nor her friend approached it with the level of nuance it deserved.
Seyfried does not know Charnas personally, or what her experience with her body has been especially after birthing two children. She was wrong to believe that it was her place to comment on it. We hope that in the future everyone can just stay in their own lane. Seyfried spoke of the importance of using her influence for good; well perhaps it’s time she took her own advice.
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