So never in a million years did I anticipate that my blog yesterday about “plus size” women and the media’s impact on body images would spark such a response. It appears that SecondHandMuse, Capricorn Sister, Andy Ennui, Ragu, Tina, Barbcue, Mestophales, and my dearest Vilate have all thrown in their two cents on the topic I posted about yesterday. I read them all, and they are all outstanding examples of some of the finest bloggers on MySpace putting very eloquent words to the topic that I had to put pictures and five pages of text to.
*Sigh*. Oh well. So I need pictures and I’m wordy. It happens.
In honor of yesterday’s blog, I am blogging and commenting in the buff. It only seems appropriate. In fact, I declare today to be National Appreciate Your Body Day. So, uh, get celebrating. I tried finding porn on the internet to help celebrate but wierdest thing, for something that’s supposedly all around out there, I had the damnedest time trying to find anything I didn’t have to pay for.
And what do you know? Once I find it, it’s all teensy chicks with huge ass boobs. I give up.
In a side note, I want to state for the record that for everyone who thinks I’m perfect (which of course is everyone, right? RIGHT?) I only shaved one armpit in my last shaving shower. I must have forgotten the other one, and damned if I didn’t only just realize it. Blogging naked has its perks, I guess, namely that I get to figure out a shaving boo-boo before anyone else does.
A couple of additional points from my blog yesterday and some that came up in comments and in reading the other fine blogs from the abovementioned fine bloggers that I wanted to mention. Ones that I think got overlooked in the general feeding frenzy on stick thin models.
Men, and skinny chicks.
Ragu, Mestophales and Barbcue wrote blogs about what it’s like being a man in today’s six-pack obsessed, washboard stomach-loving, anti-hair-promoting society we live in. To be honest, when I wrote my blog, I wasn’t really considering any other viewpoint than my own, but between his blog and a couple other comments that I read and wrote, I felt I should point out a few things that I’ve been thinking about as well.
Firstly, being a man in today’s world is tough. As with women, everywhere you look you can see examples of so-called “perfect” masculine bodies. Since men are free to take off shirts at will, you almost see more male breasts than female ones. And of course, as an advertiser, you wouldn’t want to show a man without his shirt unless he had something supposedly worth looking at, correct?
It’s time for more pictures to illustrate. (Note that there are no photos of plus size models that are males. Unfortunately, that term is reserved for female models).
Okay. I think all the ladies out there will agree that those are some damn fine specimens. But let’s be real. Ladies: how many of you know men in real life that look like any of the above? And if so, are these men that come by it naturally or do they spend hours and hours in the gym in order to promote the aforementioned “perfectly sexy body”?
Men are exposed to the same unrealistic body image propaganda as women.
I think with men, they have it harder in some ways than women. As we saw in yesterday’s blog (this morning’s?), it’s very easy (and affirming, I admit) to point at a stick thin supermodel and say that she needs more meat on her bones and that real men love real curves, et cetera.
I think it’s harder on men because there are no super stick thin men being promoted as being the paragon of male beauty out there.
No, what they get is the “perfect washboard abs” or the “exquisitely sculpted arms” or the “finely crafted pectorals”. When you see specimens like the ones above, it’s hard to scoff at that and think, Oh, but he looks like I should feed him a pizza or two.
Realistically, there is no commercial media out there that promotes a healthy male body image. Women, at least we have Dove and Lane Bryant and other places that use “plus size models” (ugh, there’s that term again) to promote their products. But where are the ads using a real man, i.e. one with perhaps a little belly going on, or less than chiseled abs, arms, or pecs? I can’t think of a single one (if I’m missing one, please let me know). In fact, usually men that I would think of as “normal” sized are often used in commercials and tv shows as objects of humor and are the butt of “beer belly” and fat jokes.
Take a sec when you have time and read this article. I found it whilst googling “male abs”. Which, by the way, returned a photo of a male bee’s abdomen. Hi, Steven.
My point being, that men have been force-fed the same bullshit as we women have (albeit not on the same scale) about “this is what you need to have, because it’s what women want.”
Well, men, please allow me to trash that particular piece of propaganda bullshit.
I would never date any of the men in any of the photos above. Why? One, because they likely wouldn’t want someone like me. Men like that (and here I am making a HUGE assumption and sweeping generalization) only want women who are their physical equal. Hottie plus hottie = two hotties (and no room for a “plus size” 2N). And honestly, I’m okay with that, because point number two is: I can’t be with someone who spends more time working on their body than I do. And I’m pretty damn sure that none of the dudes in the above got to be that way by downing beers with me at the local blogging bar or stuffing their faces with pizza while watching Arrested Development from the comfort of my couch. Which brings me to point number three, and that is that guys like that (in my experience) tend to be very, very self involved (why else look like that in the first place) and wouldn’t have the time or desire to do any of the aforementioned comfy couple activities with me.
Besides. The sexiest body part to me are eyes, lips, and smile. I also love a good set of shoulders and arms. That doesn’t mean sculpted body-builder arms. It means a little muscular, but able to give big, body-wrapping hugs. Oh, and a nice ass. All of which are my personal tastes and not something you have to work out like a maniac to obtain. My boyfriend has the best lips ever. EVER. Luckily he knows what to do with them, too, which is much fun for 2N and a constant reminder of why he’s the perfect guy for me even if he doesn’t look like one of those pictures. He also gives the best hugs in the world AND has a fabulous ass. And I don’t think he’s visited a gym in the entire time I’ve known him, so logging time in the gym is not the secret here.
So, men, please, do yourselves (and your girlfriends/wives) a favor and don’t worry if you don’t look exactly like that. If you take care of yourself, you’re healthy, you love her, and you treat her well, then for most women I know, that’s enough.
The other point I wanted to mention (and I’ve really almost run out of room here) is to talk about skinny women. I’m talking the skinny women that can’t get fat if their lives depended on it. Yes, the same skinny women we were talking about in blogs yesterday. I have skinny friends. They may or may not think of themselves as skinny, but I do. I blame the media and all the reasons in the other blogs posted today as to why they can’t see themselves as being as beautiful as I think they are. The skinny women I’m talking about, though, are the ones that look at themselves and hate their bodies because they are too skinny.
Did you even know there was such a thing?
Yes, for the same reasons that plus size women look at themselves and cringe, there are skinny women out there that look at themselves and cringe too. Not because they have a thin-complex or are anorexic, but because they are too skinny. For all the reasons we talked about in comments…skinny women are all skin and bones; no one wants to hug a skinny chick; men like women with curves…there are women out there that I envy, that wish they were more like me. It really brings home to me how sad it is that whether you’re a man or a woman, fat or skinny, that it’s almost impossible these days to just look in the mirror and think to yourself, I am just so happy that I look the way I do, because this is me and this is how I am and take it or leave it, a few extra pounds or a few to gain, this is who I am and I am happy with it.
I think that’s the point I wanted to get across in my original blog. The superskinny models? If they’re that way because of the pressure they feel to be skinny, then they are as much a victim of media propaganda as I am when I go into a store and feel bad because I love a pair of jeans but they don’t make it in “plus sizes”. The woman who looks at herself in the mirror and despairs of ever having boobs like the ones that currently grace my chest is feeling just as bad about herself as I am when I can’t fit into an extra large shirt at Macy’s.
I guess what I’m saying is not that the media should start using bigger models or beer bellied men. I think that we, as people, as consumers, need to pull our heads out of our asses and redefine what physical beauty really is and quit buying into this mentality that this media-inspired ideal is what beauty really is. For both ourselves and the people around us.