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I’m surprised this is still an issue worth writing about, although it’s partly because I haven’t been able to shake some of the negative things I’ve read about Alicia Keys since Swizz Beatz uploaded the photo above with the words, “My Bond Girl 007 AK47.” But in the many days that have passed since this photo first surfaced, I still see an unhealthy amount of shaming directed toward Ms. Keys and her figure and that in itself is a shame.

When I first saw the Instagram I was shocked, for a couple of reasons. For one, I didn’t expect Alicia Keys to be that shapely and toned in the lower region. After all she did have a baby not that long ago and I didn’t know she was on the Beyonce workout plan like that. I thought I would gladly take her abs and thighs and donate some of the extra I need to get rid of up top to her if she wanted it, and that was about all I had to say about her figure. The other reason I was shocked was because Swizz was actually celebrating his wife publicly and not off sexting one of the handfuls of women he’s rumored to be involved with behind her back. I was actually sort of impressed and thought it was cute that he was putting his wife’s photo out there and being proud of her body but after I saw the reactions people had I thought, she probably hates him for putting this photo out there now.

Let’s just say I was clearly in the admiration minority when it came to this pic. I had to keep in mind that I first saw it on the Daily Mail and that being a British tabloid where people think a size 2 is borderline obese, I should have expected the comments about her “thunder thighs” and suggestions that she lose weight. But when I moved over to YBF, you know with black people who supposedly let anything go when it comes to the female form, the comments were just as harsh. Here people commented on her disproportionate body, said Alicia Keys was built like a midget, and that she had a rather boyish figure—although not quite that nicely. On The Huffington Post, responses were no different. There was even more insinuation about the need to tone her unattractive pear shape, suggestions that her masculine stance confirmed suspicions that she is an undercover lesbian, and even questions as to why she wouldn’t have had plastic surgery to “fix” what’s lacking up top. Oh, and inquisitions about whether Photoshop was an option with Instagram. To sum it up in one phrase it was unnecessarily ridiculous.

You can’t say Alicia asked for this. She’s somewhat at the mercy of the public thanks to her husband and his Instagraming ways, but it was also evident that the reactions she received had nothing to do with her rep, which has somewhat gone down the drain since news broke of how she and Swizz’s relationship began, make that when. Only one comment of the many I read alluded to her adultery and home wrecking ways which leads me to believe this behavior is just people—and mostly women—being mean for no good reason.

What’s interesting to me is I’d be willing to bet the people making these remarks are likely the same ones screaming about the unrealistic images of women in magazines and on TV. Somehow though when they see a celebrity in her real essence, it’s not good enough. I’m starting to think the chicken and the egg debate belongs in the fashion/Photoshopping realm as well. Did the industry distort our vision of what’s beautiful to the point that now we can’t even accept a natural, unaltered woman, or has this mean girl mentality always been lurking in us to the point that it pushed the powers that be to start selling us unrealistic fantasies and figures we could aspire to achieve?

You don’t have to think Alicia Keys is gorgeous, or fit, or looks anything like a bond girl to respect that she’s someone’s wife, mother, and at the very least another human being. The only difference between this situation and the one involving Dream Hampton’s daughter is that Alicia Keys is an adult, but that doesn’t make the behavior any less cruel. We could chop this up as another instance of e-balls and the hater brigade that rears it’s ugly head behind the computer screen but this type of attack on the female form isn’t specific to the Internet or celebrities but the fact that we see it so much these days says a lot about our judgmental human nature and our ideas of what’s normal and even acceptable when it comes to women and our bodies. I initially thought Alica should be pissed at Swizz for putting her out there like that but I’m sure she’s been in the spotlight long enough to learn to drown out the noise. It’s also silly to think that just because the majority of the public, who according to stats on any given day, is overweight and obese, has a problem with her figure she should be ashamed of it. At the end of the day, she had the confidence to step out in that two piece which suggests she likes it and Swiss obviously loves it. I usually do just about anything to avoid using the word hating, but in this case the people who are going out of their way to show their disapproval of Alicia’s body are in fact doing just that, and in my opinion that’s the main thing that’s not cute in this situation.

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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