Earlier this month, an Instagram user by the handle @tripp uploaded a photo accompanied by a 265-word-long caption that had nothing but praise for his wife Sarah, owner of a body positivity blog called sassy red lipstick. Soon enough, the Instagram post went viral for being the personification of #RelationshipGoals. The media took notice, and it became the subject of today’s feminism that dragged Robert Tripp – said Instagram account owner – into a hot, hot mess. To me, it’s just another case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” and here’s why.
I discovered Robert’s popular Instagram post on my discover page way before the whole thing got picked up by news websites. At first glance, the romantic photograph and its caption really caught my attention for being, y’know, pretty fucking sweet. It never hit me that this man is humble-bragging, nor did it make me feel like he’s self-serving. In my own context of love, people are free to express it in any way they want to and even as a feminist, I saw it as progress rather than an issue. Not long after the post was out, Buzzfeed republished Robbie’s Instagram open letter and wrote it in an angle that showed admiration for the man. The article also quoted comments from the original Instagram post that complimented Robbie: “You’re the definition of how a true man should be,” “We need more men like you out there. I love the way you love her,” “This post gives me hope.” Daily Mail then hopped on to the bandwagon with a headline titled, “Robbie Tripp pens moving tribute to his wife’s curvy body.”
This is the open letter penned by Robbie Tripp to his wife Sarah:
|| I love this woman and her curvy body. As a teenager, I was often teased by my friends for my attraction to girls on the thicker side, ones who were shorter and curvier, girls that the average (basic) bro might refer to as “chubby” or even “fat.” Then, as I became a man and started to educate myself on issues such as feminism and how the media marginalizes women by portraying a very narrow and very specific standard of beauty (thin, tall, lean) I realized how many men have bought into that lie. For me, there is nothing sexier than this woman right here: thick thighs, big booty, cute little side roll, etc. Her shape and size won’t be the one featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan but it’s the one featured in my life and in my heart. There’s nothing sexier to me than a woman who is both curvy and confident; this gorgeous girl I married fills out every inch of her jeans and is still the most beautiful one in the room. Guys, rethink what society has told you that you should desire. A real woman is not a porn star or a bikini mannequin or a movie character. She’s real. She has beautiful stretch marks on her hips and cute little dimples on her booty. Girls, don’t ever fool yourself by thinking you have to fit a certain mold to be loved and appreciated. There is a guy out there who is going to celebrate you for exactly who you are, someone who will love you like I love my Sarah. || photo cred: @kaileehjudd
Twitter user @Scaachi even did this as a response:
I love this woman and her curvy body. As a teenager, I was often teased by my friends for my attraction to girls on the thicker side, ones w pic.twitter.com/j7a6NOp8UJ
— Scaachi (@Scaachi) August 4, 2017
Interestingly, not everyone shared the same sentiment. Many Internet users, particularly women, highlighted a very important and often overlooked problem in Robbie’s Instagram open letter, one that has a problematic connotation upon closer examination. Take a closer look and you’d see why people find it disturbing how Robbie claims to be a feminist through his self-crediting post, many people have pointed out the condescending tone in the majority of his Instagram captions that involve Sarah too. Shit hit the fan when columnists published their opinions on the matter, sparking an online war when likeminded people start to attack Robbie for his shallow understanding of feminism and beauty standards. According to Nylon, “Men shouldn’t go viral every time they are a good and decent human. We need to set the bar a lot higher than that.” The Telegraph didn’t get the hype around this man either and was quoted saying, “No doubt Robbie loves his wife very much. No doubt Robbie thinks he is the world’s best husband right now. As do the 20,436 people who inexplicably liked his post. There’s just one problem. Women don’t exist purely for the pleasure of men.”
strong contender for least fave type of male feminist is “man who thinks liking a curvy woman is revolutionary” pic.twitter.com/BzDhhiSHNA
— Julia Pugachevsky (@jaypugz) August 3, 2017
Deadass. Dating thick/chubby/fat girls isn’t “courageous.” You shouldn’t care what other people think, so stop expecting recognition for it. https://t.co/m8YlbkYf2h
— mean black fattie (@SimoneMariposa) August 4, 2017
I have to say, I agree with a lot of these writers and public comments, even when they’re a bit aggressive towards Robbie, who I believe had good intentions. As someone who has observed this debacle, I’ve realised that the public’s negative feedback is simply a reaction to the overwhelming amount of positive feedback, aka internet hype. Ever heard of the phrase, “Too much of a good thing”? Yeah, this is it. Though Robbie doesn’t deserve the hate he’s getting, he also doesn’t deserve the love. In retrospect, it really is no one’s fault that this man’s open letter became sensationalised news. Everyone with a social media account knows that when you put yourself out there, you no longer have control of what people think or say about you. When something is overhyped on the internet, people who like it will either re-share the content or turn it into a meme if they hate it. Furthermore, involving yourself in the subject of feminism is like opening a can of worms. The Feminazi movement made up of privileged men and women misuse the feminist label to preach messages that only fit the Western narrative. It doesn’t help that we live in a society that has the word “triggered” stamped onto their foreheads.
So my unpopular opinion is that I’m not and never will be mad at Robbie for his Instagram post. I see his flawed method of raising awareness on something as important as beauty standards, but I also look past that because I know he meant well. I also suggest we take a step back and look at Robbie’s message; strip away the need for political correctness and you’d get a straightforward love letter to a wife he obviously adores. The dude clearly has a lot more to learn and instead of ridiculing him we ought to be more tolerant of his mistakes so he can learn from it. Not to mention that both Robbie and Sarah Tripp are contributors to society too. Robbie is an author, public speaker, and creative activist while Sarah runs a lifestyle blog that talks fashion and body positivity. I’m sure they’re both used to being expressive online, and his dedication to his wife doesn’t make him a “nice guy misogynist” as painted by The Telegraph. The Instagram open letter does need a bit of readjustment, but its underlying message is still one that’s genuine and straight from the heart. Since when did we become nitpicking experts on love, relationships, and women’s rights?
|| Tonight we are celebrating this doll face hitting 100,000 followers. I couldn’t be more proud of @sassyredlipstick right now. She has the most natural style and confidence of any woman I’ve ever met and I feel so lucky to work alongside her and help her achieve her dreams. Years ago when she first told me she had always wanted to start a fashion blog but was unsure of how to begin, I told her I would take care of it. I built her first blog on WordPress, snapped all her photos that first year, and did everything I could to support her. Today, I have stayed true to my promise to lift her up and put her in a position to succeed and there’s nothing that makes me happier than seeing her soar. The followers may have increased, the email inbox may be jam packed, and the partnerships may have gotten bigger, but we’re still just two people who promised that we’d always help one another succeed. She dreams. I dream. We dream. ||
It brings me to my next point as a feminist and activist, we should encourage growth no matter how little. We can’t accept progression to be smooth sailing at all times, people will mess up but it’s the intentions that count. Yes, it’s stupid that men are applauded for doing the “bare minimum” while women are expected to be good wives or mothers, but there’s a history of gender roles ingrained that most us still can’t shake off and it’s important to know that it won’t change overnight either. The Instagram post up above is another reason why people are mad at Robbie and it makes sense because he made Sarah’s success all about himself. It isn’t an issue of sexism however, it’s just another case of humble bragging and making shit all about yourself when it isn’t. We can’t take Robbie’s mistakes and label it as that because not everything a man does wrong is born out of sexism.
Internet users are also calling out Robbie’s “fetish” for curvy women, since he religiously brings up the topic of pear-shaped women in his Instagram account. But what do we achieve when we slander a man who’s only here to express his attraction towards curvy women? It’s hypocritical of us to attack him for doing what he does when we are also prone to petty mistakes like overpraising our social media feed with pictures of our other half, and having preferences in partners. I even know a few women who explicitly say that they have “a thing for dudes who are assholes.” Everyone is guilty of something, and if you wanna drag someone, drag a person who does something worse than Robbie Tripp.
|| When I found my @sassyredlipstick, I didn’t just fall in love with her for this pretty doll face or soft voluptuous figure, I fell in love with her confidence. I fell in love with her silent but notable strength. I fell in the love with her effortless knack to be the prettiest girl in the room due to her natural style and impeccable fashion sense. Even when we’re at the beach, she manages to garner compliments from total strangers. There’s no doubt about it, she’s a born stunner. I’m proud to be the guy who gets to be by her side. || #TeamTripp
Here’s what Sarah has to say about the whole controversy surrounding her husband, according to People: “I think ‘fetish’ is definitely reaching,” she says. “I’ve never once thought of how Robbie thinks of me as a fetish; he celebrates my curves. He supports me, he supports other women. If you scroll back, he talks about just loving girl power and seeing all these amazing women who are doing so much in the world and so much good. So I just don’t buy into it at all.”
If his wife isn’t too bothered about it, then we sure as hell don’t need to involve ourselves in their business.
While it’s great to call people out for their act, y’all gotta stop twisting the guy’s messages into something way worse than it is and go as far to call him a human garbage. Robbie’s posts may seem patronising to most people and even if Sarah doesn’t need the reassurance cause she’s a strong, independent woman, it doesn’t hurt that her husband shows her love. Are we seriously gonna get salty about that? Loving curvy women doesn’t make Robbie a feminist, but loving his wife, spreading messages of hope and positivity along with the woman he loves is an indication of something.
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