Columnist Monica Hesse at the Washington Post has had it with a very common type of headline—the ones you see about female celebs "flaunting" their body at the beach. They're not hard to find, like so, and so, and so. Next time you come across one, pay attention to what the celeb is doing and see if it looks like "flaunting." They're often unaware of the camera and going about the usual stuff people do at the beach, like, say, swimming or tending to their kids. "This is not 'flaunting' a body," writes Hesse. "This is 'having' a body—an immutable state that all of us who are not incorporeal brains in jars must deal with." Hesse notes that Jennifer Lawrence got the "flaunting" treatment after taking a dip in the ocean off a private yacht far from shore.
Maybe she could have avoided the label by wearing a Hamburglar costume instead of a swim suit, suggests Hesse. "So, there are your choices, Jennifer Lawrence: Either be accused of flaunting, or drown." For the record, flaunting means "dressing or behaving in a provocative way” or “displaying something ostentatiously in order to provoke envy," writes Hesse, and the automatic use for female celebs is flat-out sexist. "As the past 10 months have made clear, women and men can perceive interactions in very different ways, and the misuse of 'flaunting' does not help clarify things." Hesse reaches out to some tabloids, but gets a response only from PopSugar. “We feel ‘flaunt’ exudes confidence,” explains a rep, adding that PopSugar would stop using the word if it becomes offensive. "Pull it PopSugar," urges Hesse. "Do it." Read the full column.