There are worse things than fat, y’all

The model pictured below has, without doubt, a very pretty face.  Neither do I want to “snark” upon her body. Thin is one of many variations of beauty, after all. However, if the fashion industry needs the Average Jane to look like this to wear their clothes and be attractive, then I call shenanigans.

image

Pretty or not, she looks thin to the point of starvation. Not that she is necessarily starving. While there is a real problem with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia in modeling, some women are just that thin, vis-a-vis their DNA. Nevertheless, if that is our only version of beauty, or the “ideal” beauty”, then we are basically asking woman who are not this thin naturally to starve themselves into compliance or they are ugly. And the media DOES send out the message, over and over, that you are either as rail-skinny and fat-free as a supermodel or you are a disgusting pig and no one will ever want to knock boots with you, let alone love you.

According to WebMD, “over the past twenty years, fashion model sizes have dropped from a size 8 to 0 … The average starlet is wearing a size 2 or 4 which is the sample size designers are making presently. Today, the average American woman is 5′4″, has a waist size of 34-35 inches and weighs between 140-150 lbs, with a dress size of 12-14.” Hmmm. As women gained more freedoms in the public sphere, our patriarchal culture started asking them to look weak and emaciated and fragile. Golly, I see no connection there at all!  Not that anyone set down and thought, “Let’s starve the bitches!”. Nope. It just that weaker women started to be more “appealing” every year and no fashion editor (women are influenced by and complicit with the patriarchy too, y’all) ever stopped to wonder why they suddenly saw heroin-chic models as so desirable.

At any rate, if the average model is size 0, and the average woman is size 12-14, then according to the fashion industry unspoken visual message the average woman is a vile mass of quivering fat who can never be pretty, ever.

The only deviation form the size 0-4 standard are so-called “plus size” models. In contrast to the hideously large 12-14 average woman,  we have a size 16 fatty she-beast, Ashley Graham:

 

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Yeah, it would just suck to be as fat as she is. I bet she has all kinds of problems finding men willing to date her. 

Anyway, the point is she is another version of beauty. Beauty does not REQUIRE as willowy/skeletal body. Furthermore, there is not such as strict dividing line in appearance, marking either ugly OR beauty; there are a million shades of pretty down toward homely all the way into ugly. on a scale of 1-10, people who are not on the 3-7 continuum are rare. And if someone loves you, then they will see you as pretty/handsome whether you are or not.

I am currently restricting my calories (although if I feel really, truly hungry then I eat, dammit) because I had a sudden an rapid weight gain, probably form lack of sleep, and I want to get back to my normal.  I am not aiming at a size 0. I would just like to go back to what seems a healthy sustainable weight for me, a size 14/16. I still won’t look like Ashley Graham, though. I am not beautiful. That does NOT mean I am ugly and valueless. I also refuse to let culture tell me that I am “too fat” to be worth anything at ANY weight.  Fokk that noise.

Now, go forth and remember you are pretty just as you are, no matter what size your jeans may be.

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About Betty Fokker

I'm a stay-at-home feminist mom.
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14 Responses to There are worse things than fat, y’all

  1. MaineBetty says:

    Right on right on right on!

    (Write on write on write on!)

  2. Andie says:

    I second that!

    I’m currently on a weight-maintenance program, mainly out of a desire to not buy new clothes (I LIKE my clothes, I want to wear them again) and not to get to the point I was at a few years ago, when I WAS unhealthy, but I’m finding it’s no longer as necessary for me to find that ‘magic number’ on the scale. Just wanna wear my pants again.

    I think certain subcultures such as burlesque and pinup art are beginning to question the idea that one has to be stick-thin to be beautiful, which is something I’m glad to see for sure.

    On the flip side, I thank you for not submitting to body-snarking in this post, because I get just as pissed at the whole ‘Real Women have Curves’ thing as the thin=beautiful thing… There’s no prescription for what beauty means, and we can celebrate ourselves without putting another group down. So thanks for that.

  3. The idea of too thin is often subjective. Sometimes the person in question is obviously underweight, according to BMI standards, and some people think even women who are in the normal BMI range are too thin or look like they are starving. I think if you are a fat person who is used to be around other fat people, it might seem odd to view a person who is size 0. In the same breath, if a super skinny model who is used to seeing other models who look like her, someone like Ashley Grahman might seem like a “fat ass.”

    That aside, as someone in the modeling industry, I would like to see more messages being sent that a variety of bodies are attractive.

  4. I call shenanigans on you, Fokker. Because while the rest of your post is right on, you ARE beautiful. Just ask your daughters.

  5. the muskrat says:

    I feel a little bit sorry for chicks at both ends of this spectrum.

  6. Janice says:

    Funny, I was just discussing this with friends here in Ecuador on Sunday. One had brought over clothing catalogues and I commented on how the models- voluptuous, sexy, women- would be considered ugly fat-asses in North America. Luckily, women of all shapes and sizes are appreciated here (although a little too much, but that’s a whole other issue). My friends couldn’t believe it. Here, women actually get ass implants, and some wear special underwear with inserts to make their butts look bigger, and what North Americans consider ‘thunder-thighs’ and ‘fat asses’ are considered the most desirable here, and women like that are referred to by some as ‘double breasted’. NOt saying it’s perfect here, not at all, but it’s refreshing to come back home after a visit to Canada. North Americans need to learn how to appreciate women, period.

  7. Luna says:

    My cousin is a large large woman. Well into obese on the BMI. Probably around 325 lbs, if I had to guess. Anyway, she was in Egypt with her husband (an Egyptian) and another man offered her husband a huge amount of money to buy her from him. :O Like in the millions of dollars. Her hubby said “Sorry, she’s not for sale” and he said, “Too bad. She is magnificent. Treat her well. You are a lucky man”. She said she’s never felt ugly since. Though she was slightly mortified at the offer to buy her.

  8. Bitty Betty says:

    My friend just posted this to her Facebook, and it reminded me of your blogs on body shape and beauty. http://www.nikeblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Nike-Women-Ad.jpg.

  9. katslearning says:

    Thank you for posting this — I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, the advertising/fashion/media continue to push their “thin is beautiful” complex but it does not stop with these industries — our own culture also pushes this ideal.

    I have heard many, many “don’t get fat” comments from my family and friends. For instance, I heard a family member tell my 3 year old niece “don’t eat the cake, you’ll get fat” at her birthday party! Or, worse, say to a nursing mother,” Don’t breastfeed your daughter too long, she’ll be fat.” Another person told me at the beginning of my pregnancy,” Don’t get fat while you’re pregnant, your husband won’t love you.”

    Each time I hear them say something like this, I want to scream and tell them Stop! A 3 year old will not get fat because she had one slice of her birthday cake. A newborn will NOT be fat because she is breast fed too long. My husband WILL love me no matter what I look like. And what’s wrong with “fat” if you’re healthy?

    I am currently 26 weeks pregnant and having a little girl. My goal is to remind her every day that she is beautiful for who she is, not because of her weight or her appearance. My daughter may take after my husband who is naturally very, very thin or she may take after me and have curves. Regardless, it will be who she is and what she stands for that will make her beautiful. God help the person that steps out of line and tells my daughter not to eat something “or she’ll get fat” — my husband knows I’ll probably rip them a new one.

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