Augustine: ‘Curvy Wife Guy’ displays false body positivity

Kathryn Augustine, Columnist

Robbie Tripp, dubbed “Curvy Wife Guy,” rose to viral prominence in 2017 with a singular Instagram post. The photo simply depicts Tripp warmly embracing his wife, Sarah Tripp. In the caption, though, Tripp declares his love for Sarah and admiration for curvy women in a lengthy paragraph attempting to promote body positivity. Last Friday, he posted a music video to a song he wrote titled “Chubby Sexy.”

Tripp’s intentions can be initially viewed as positive. But both his Instagram post and recent music video directly undermine body positivity and feminism.

At the beginning of his post, Tripp writes that he was teased throughout his teenage years for his attraction to curvier girls the “average… bro” might perceive as fat. This self-congratulatory phrase sends the message that loving curvy women is revolutionary and heroic. It implies that plus-sized women are hard to love, and that it is uncommon for them to be viewed as people. Loving a woman without fixating on her size, however, is not a grand gesture — that is a given for any genuinely respectful person. Being a decent human certainly does not warrant a round of applause.

This illustrates a larger issue of the painfully low standards men are held to. Respect and acceptance toward a woman’s body is the bare minimum, and yet, many women fawned over Tripp’s caption. This is particularly apparent in an article authored by a female senior reporter for HuffPost, titled “Husband’s Love Note to His ‘Curvy’ Wife Should Be Required Reading.” The standards for men need to be raised because respect and acceptance are not bonuses, they are requirements.

In addition, Tripp portrays himself as a victim of the female beauty standards that are so deeply embedded in American society. Since when are men suffering from society’s mold of the ideal woman? Being teased for falling for “fat” women pales in comparison to the pain women experience when they look in the mirror after being fed the harmful message that they are not skinny enough. By attracting attention to his own experience of teasing due to his taste in women, he shifts the focus of body positivity in the wrong direction.

Given Tripp’s recent release of “Chubby Sexy,” he’s clearly failed to learn his lesson from that post. Rather than attempting to promote acceptance at each and every size, he prescribes a new mold for women and objectifies the women in the video.

In the video, Tripp raps, “She like a dude who’s woke, we like a girl who’s weighty.” The objective of body positivity is that regardless of your weight, your size or your body shape, you are beautiful and loveable. It’s ironic that Tripp has the audacity to classify himself as woke and socially aware when he is not promoting body positivity, but rather crafting an alternative ideal for women to conform to.

Additionally, this crude lyric implies that a woman’s likability is entirely dependent on her weight — not other characteristics, such as personality. Thin, curvy or somewhere in between, women deserve compliments on factors other than weight. They deserve compliments on their intelligence, their personality and their character.

A slew of Tripp’s other lyrics similarly reinforce that men are attracted to curvy women and find their features sexy. Why, though, is Tripp supporting the notion that a woman’s sense of beauty depends on what men think of her? His definition of body confidence is conditional — loving your body because of how men view your level of attractiveness. In reality, body confidence means loving your body because internally, you are at peace with your appearance, without any ties to men. This is the type of body confidence we need to instill in the next generation of women.

Another blatant flaw with Tripp’s video is his overt objectification. Tripp raps, “I’mma dunk that donk like I’m Andrew Wiggins.” Drawing a connection between sexual relations and scoring points is entirely inappropriate. This connection suggests women are simply bodies for men to use for bragging rights. The music video is supposedly about body positivity, yet this lyric shares no overarching message on self-love.

Body positivity is not solely praising women with curves, nor is it not loving yourself because society and men regard you as sexually attractive. It’s not congratulating yourself for romantic relationships with women who are not rail thin.

Rather, body positivity is unconditional love of your own body and non-judgment toward the bodies of others. It means looking beyond someone’s weight — because ultimately, that does not define a person.

Kathryn Augustine is a Medill first-year. She can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.