When it comes to making the rounds on Instagram, hubadera pics are a dime a dozen: You can easily visit any actress’ or model’s page and view the assortment of bikini photos from travel-worthy vacation spots, outtakes of photo shoots that show a sliver of skin, and the general sprinkling of crop top-clad OOTDs. Curation, after all, is the name of the game on Instagram, with the composition of photos as its pieces.
Hence, it should not have come as a surprise when KC Concepcion posted a photo of her baring more cleavage than usual on her feed.While the image did well to show off the actress’ curves in her sheer and low-cut top, it was nothing out of the ordinary from the usual array of images that regularly pervade the platform.
Captioned, “This is how I feel after eating a big bowl of spaghetti”, it showcases the kind of self-awareness KC has in finally coming to terms with her body after struggling with her image for years. As revealed in our October cover story, this is what KC had to say:
“[I struggled with] the obsession with weight, and staying a certain shape, and really hearing every single day how much weight you need to lose,” she reveals. “I would like to keep fit and lean and I won't stop 'til I achieve a body that looks great in all the clothes I long to wear (I love dressing up!), but I don't want to have to hear about being thin every single day.”
In the same interview, KC also added:
“Honestly, I find women so sexy when they embrace their curves and learn to dress well. You are beautiful in your own body, find the best way to dress to accentuate your strengths.”
KC’s photos now only display happiness and confidence in her own body image and it shows, gaining all sorts of praise from celebrities Iza Calzado, Lea Salonga, Mark Nicdao, Jason Magbanua, and Vina Morales.
However, amidst the shower of compliments were criticisms on it being a provocative image, which only points to one thing: While social media has been generally rife with images and statements on empowerment and body positivity, the reactions KC’s Instagram photo generated give us a peek on how we haven’t completely broken free from our regressive, patriarchal worldview where women are expected to be modest and subservient.
Renaissance art, foreign fashion, and entertainment industries celebrate the female form, and while not perfect, have revived the love for curves and strengthened the call for body positivity amidst the #MeToo movement. Fashion has certainly evolved into a world where good style enables wearers to express themselves and make them feel good—whether it means covering up or showing some skin. Décolletage is nothing new on the scene, with fashion lovers both local and abroad who have been able to pull off outfits that show off cleavage.
This alone has us baffled on the reactions that KC’s photo has garnered, and showcases certain standards that we impose on naturally curvier women as evidenced by a supposedly innocuous upload that drew more flak than the usual.
Here are just some of the comments made on KC’s Instagram page, which we refute one by one.
“What would your mother or father say?”
Users pointed out that her photo may spark the disapproval of her parents, celebrities Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion. At 32 years old, KC is an independent and fully grown woman who is completely capable of making her own decisions. While it is natural for parents to be protective of their children, it is also not in our position to presume what acts her parents would object to especially given the fact that KC is of age. Whether the post would make either of her parents uncomfortable is for them to handle behind the scenes, and not for us to speculate on.
“Your post may invite manyaks (perverts).”
This is exactly where the problem lies. We should not have to hide what empowers and makes us feel comfortable in our skin, simply because it makes others uneasy. Similarly, women dressing up in a specific way is most certainly not an invitation for others to treat them with disrespect. This kind of thinking is exactly what perpetuates victim-blaming, where anyone who is assaulted or harassed is disregarded because their actions “asked for it.”
By allowing this kind of mentality, we continue to treat women’s bodies as objects that are only there for sexual purposes and nothing else. A human being’s value is not and will never be equated to what they wear. Instead of teaching kids how to dress, we should be teaching them how not to be perverts.
“It’s ok to show off some skin, but this is too much.”
KC’s photo shows her in a half-body shot, clad in a décolletage top. In what way is that too much? This reflects the kind of double standard we tend to impose against naturally curvier women: as if asking women “not to show skin” wasn’t enough, those with buxom bodies are expected to exert more effort in covering up body parts that genetics have endowed them with.
Women, regardless of their body types, can and should be able to take pride in their own bodies in ways that make them feel at ease without fear of backlash. At the end of the day, fashion celebrates diverse tastes, aesthetics, and influences that allow for artful self-expression. Perhaps that is something we should be paying more attention to instead of policing the amount of skin women choose to bare.