The tribulations of body-shamed celebrities on Instagram

File this one under the category of “Very First-World Problems”: Donna D’Errico, a 54-year-old former Baywatch actress, “bravely” posted a photo of herself wearing lingerie on her Instagram feed. She did this despite being told (by random yahoos on the Internet) that she was “too old” to post such content.

Source: Donna D’Errico, Instagram

How did she overcome this monumental life challenge? Partly through the support of Carmen Electra, who recently turned 50 herself. (Carmen Electra has also recently opened an OnlyFans account.)

Most of D’Errico’s online detractors were other women. So at least this isn’t yet another “oh no, here we go again” story about “the patriarchy” or “toxic masculinity”:

“Once upon a time I used to allow what others thought of me to really bother me and even dictate my actions,” D’Errico said. “And those ‘others’ I speak of were almost exclusively other women. Strangers in public or haters online, so many women just seem to love tearing other women down. It affected me pretty badly over time. No matter how great I felt about how I looked when I left the house, if I got photographed while out I’d be absolutely torn to shreds by mostly women making fun of everything about me in online comments.”

We’ve seen this many times before. A celebrity who is either a.) over 40, or b.) not exactly svelte, will post photos of herself on Instagram. Then, when the inevitable wiseass comments come in (this being the Internet, and all), the media will subject us to a series of online articles about “body shaming”.

We recently saw versions of this with Britney Spears (who is 40) and singer Lizzo (who is obese). Paige Spiranac (a twentysomething who is definitely not “fat”) also complained to the media of being “fat-shamed” on Instagram.

Is this only a problem for women? I’m 54 years old, the same age as Donna D’Errico. If I were to post a photo of myself wearing speedos on Instagram, I would be body-shamed like nobody’s business. I occasionally record YouTube videos. Whenever I do, someone inevitably makes a remark about my bald head. (I sometimes respond with Wayne Dyer’s old line: “It’s not a bald head, it’s a solar panel for a sex machine.”)

The point is: post a revealing photo of yourself online (or indeed, any image of yourself), and you’re going to get hurtful comments from jackasses, provided that the image garners enough traffic. Because that’s the way the Internet works. Affecting shock, hurt, or outrage about it only gives the trolls the one thing they truly crave: evidence that they’ve gotten under your skin.

But back to Donna D’Errico. FWIW, she looks pretty good in lingerie. And I’m sure she knows that. She’s a former Baywatch babe and Playboy centerfold, after all…even if she is old enough for membership in the AARP. Her jeremiad about being body-shamed is simply a trigger word for the media. The media pounces on any story about a celebrity being “body-shamed” on Instagram.  

Nancy Sinatra on the cover of Playboy, 1995

Hot-looking (can I say “hot-looking” on the Internet in 2022?) women over 50 are not quite as rare as you might believe. Nor are they a new phenomenon. In 1995, Nancy Sinatra posed for Playboy at the age of 54. But that was long before anyone had heard of Instagram. Better times, those were.