Another soapbox blog, people.
I think that it’s safe to say that most women are at least a little concerned about their weight and/or body image.
Women readers: if you are one of the point-oh-one percent that looks in the mirror and thinks that you’re absolutely fabulous the way you are, I think that is the most wonderful thing ever, and can you please teach me how you do that? Because although on most days I don’t think a lot about my weight or how my body looks, there are times when I realize that I’m actually not the size two figure I think I am in my head…as in when I see full body shots of myself and think, oh wow. That’s not how I thought I looked *at all*.
I googled “plus size models” today. Here’s what came back:
“A plus-size model is a fashion model who wears a dress size 12, or higher (in North American sizing). The term invariably refers to female models, and is most commonly encountered in the fashion world. ”
Plus size = size twelve or greater. Marilyn Monroe, one of the greatest sex symbols in the last one hundred years, was a size fourteen. What does that say about today’s media and ideas of beauty?
This is Natalie Wakeling. She was recently signed into Ford Modeling’s Plus division.
This is Joy Shanley. She’s a size fourteen (same size as me). She’s also considered a plus size model.
This is Alana. She’s a size sixteen.
In fact, all of the models at this link are considered “plus size”.
This is Karlie Kloss. She is the number two voted model at models.com.
This is Malgosia. She used to be voted number two at the same site.
And this is Isabeli. Used to be voted number three.
Here’s my problem.
Those first three models are regular women. There are more women of those sizes in the United States today than there are women of the smaller sizes. And yet, women like the last three are what’s being presented to our women – wives, girlfriends, daughters, sisters – and we’re being told, “this is beauty.”
This is beauty.
In other words, if you have an ass, or boobs, or you have a little extra weight, or perhaps you shouldn’t be wearing a bikini…that you’re not beautiful.
I realize that there are people out there that don’t promote this and don’t think that way. But just consider the image that women are presented with by almost all types of media.
All you have to do is open up Maxim or Cosmo and see examples of “beauty”. The models Cosmo uses in their “I Hate My Body” articles are all fabulously figured women! They do articles about loving your body the way it is, and use models that would swim in a pair of my jeans. Explain how that is supposed to make our young women feel comfortable with their bodies, especially if they aren’t the perfect size two shown in the article.
It’s not like I can’t lose weight, right? I could go on a strict diet and exercise regimen, and as long as I stayed on it, I could probably keep my weight down. But as soon as I go off it, I would slowly but surely come back up to where I’m at, where I’ve been for the last few years. It’s like this is where I’m naturally supposed to be. Some days I’m okay with that; and some days I would give anything to have my boyfriend look at me and touch me like he might look at the models in Maxim, and see a perfectly proportioned, size two-or-whatever, beautiful body.
Don’t get me wrong. I run around naked all the time. I sleep naked, I don’t have a problem being naked. Most of the time I feel comfortable with how I look. I think it’s because I have this image in my head of what I look like and it’s somehow not quite an accurate reflection of reality. So sometimes when I actually do see what I look like, it’s a little bit of an unpleasant shock, and all I want to do is cover up and hide myself.
Ultimately, I think that the first three women up there are more beautiful than the last three – they are more real to me than the others. I beleive that women who are more than a size two still deserve to feel desirable, and touchable, and sexy. We still want to be stroked and petted and made to feel beautiful. We want to hear more than “it’s your personality that makes you beautiful”…we want to know that our bodies are beautiful too…just the way they are. We deserve to feel like our bodies really are wonderlands, and our curves are places for enjoyment and rest, and not things to be ashamed of and hidden.
I guess I’m just sad that it seems like the universally accepted fabulous body is one that I will never have. Period. Ever. I could lose forty pounds and still not look like the models in Maxim. And that’s a bummer. It’s a bummer that the models in Maxim are the accepted standard for “hotness” and not something a little more realistic.
That being said, I want to say a few things that I tell myself when I’m feeling down about how I look, in case there are other women out there that feel the same as me:
Women – Be naked. Spend time in your own skin. There’s no point stressing out over your “fat” thighs or cellulite on your ass, or your thickened waist, or any of those things. Really, there’s not. You are the way you are, your body is the way it is, and the sooner you come to terms with that fact, the happier you’ll be. If you’re heavier than is healthy (as per a DOCTOR’S advice, not Cosmo’s), then by all means go on a reasonable diet and exercise plan. Get down to a reasonable weight for your body type. But don’t kill yourself over five pounds. Honestly, I think I can say with complete confidence that you are the only one that notices that you are ten pounds heavier than you were last month. Seriously.
Men – Tell your women – daughters, wives, girlfriends, sisters – that they are beautiful. Explain to your daughter that she is beautiful and she’ll only get more beautiful as she gets older. Help her see that she’s fabulous just the way she is. Help her accept herself. Pick out something on your wife or girlfriend’s body and compliment it. Touch it. Stroke it. Let her know that there’s things about her body, specifically, that turn you on. Think of it as an investment in your sex life. Women don’t really want to have sex if they don’t feel sexy, and as a significant other, you wield an enormous power to make her feel that way. All it takes is touching, petting, and verbalizing what you find sexy about her. Trust me, you will appreciate the results, and she will appreciate being made to feel like a goddess. It’s a win-win situation.
At any rate. I hate feeling this way, it makes me feel like a whiny bitch. Don’t go thinking that I’m some little insecure asshole, all right? One of these days I’ll get into a blog about the differences between self-confidence and self-assurance and self-esteem. Very different things.
That’s all I got for tonight.