Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Plus Sized Model? Maybe. Naked? Yep. . . .

I totally get that for Glamour magazine this might be something significant. Long a bastion of "normalcy" for idiot-stick-figures (I mean that in the most affectionate way possible) and fashionistas (and those hoping to just take a really good sex quiz), I understand that it is controversial to allow a woman with a belly to show it off to the readers, advertisers and the masses but . . . hold on, I'm getting my soap box out and dusting it of . . .

This woman is NOT a plus sized model. She is NOT fat. She is not even pleasantly plump, rotund, "more to love" or an example of what the typical American woman looks like these days.

I get that to a girl (or impressionable woman) who might be choking on a celery stick or her finger right now in the pursuit of a size 0 body that she might be a more comfortable standard to set in terms of how a body might look and still be considered beautiful but - for those of us that have seen the heavy side of the scale . . . uh, how do I even say this . . . I would give my eye teeth if I looked that good naked when I was SIX (to dream that my boobs could hide neatly behind my upper arm (smile)).

I appreciate the publicity stunt and the buzz and I DO appreciate that we are moving more in the direction of accepting that we are getting heavier and that there is unquestionable beauty in the world of people with some extra weight on their bodies (don't even get me started on that front) but let's NOT mistake this 180-pound, 20 year-old woman for some example of a bold "fat" woman that dares to push through years of pain and strip down and start a conversation about obesity and beauty or anything else on that path. Lizzie Miller is brave, make no mistake, but she's not exactly what I would consider to be a big beautiful woman (or BBW as said woman is categorized in the Craig's List personal ads (smile)).

I double checked and I don't see a drop of cellulite on her (perhaps it is retouched). I only count one chin. I don't mistake her arms for bat wings. I don't see stretch marks around the belly. I don't confuse her wrists for toddler waists. I don't get the impression that she is hiding cankles just out of frame here. And yet if she HAD all those things she would still likely be very beautiful.

In Lizzie's defense she doesn't seem to think she is some champion of the obesity cause (she seemed, frankly, to have the right perspective on all of it on the Today show)) and Glamour magazine seems to have the right perspective on it too (they acknowledge the fact that she is only "plus sized" in the context of modeling standards and that they are amazed at some of the conversation as well).

Perhaps the whole point of the picture and the chatter is to sort of continue the conversation around obesity and self image and beauty and maybe it is just a few in the fringe that want to paint this woman as "plus sized" or "big" or whatever but I just want to make sure that we don't give too much credit and too much attention to this picture of "big" . . . it might do more harm to the truly obese that struggle with their self image in the defense of the women out there that might have a cute little belly to showcase (when doing photo shoots for fashion magazines (smile)).

Stay proud, stay beautiful ladies (no matter what size you are)!


nytova said...

OK first let me say, I this this model is beautiful. She has a gorgeous face, and soft feminine curves. I also think most women are beautiful, no matter what their shape or size, because women are just amazing. A woman's inner strength shines through and manifests itself as external beauty. This model is attractive, but she nevertheless overweight.

You made a couple points here when you said "I DO appreciate that we are moving more in the direction of accepting that we are getting heavier and that there is unquestionable beauty in the world of people with some extra weight on their bodies."

So we agree on the unquestionable beauty part. But I do not agree with your statement that you appreciate society accepting that people are getting heavier.

Yes people are getting heavier - but we should not accept it. If a person can prove that they're average, then they will feel like they are normal and don't have to do anything about it. I think that is an excuse people use to make themselves feel better.

Everything is relative, right? You don't think she is fat because relative to your own personal experience, 180 pounds is not fat. Everything is relative to the national average too, right? If the average American woman is a size 12-14 or larger, then this model doesn't seem fat. (But she is. Unless she is 7'4" - in which case 180 pounds would be a healthy weight. This model is not 7'4".) Ask me 5 years ago I would not have thought she was fat either! Having been 180 pounds myself back then I never thought I was too fat either. Until I look back now and realize I was in denial! Everything is relative.

Look at me now for example. Did you know that technically I am 5 pounds overwight right now? I bet you would look at me and say I was skinny! But I am carrying around an extra 5 pounds of body fat. Yes I still look good, but by medical standards it is not my optimum HEALTHY weight, plain and simple. I already think I am beautiful, and nobody can ever say otherwise, BUT nobody should be encouraging me to accept myself as anything but my healthy best. Which for me means burning that last 5 pounds, no matter how ridiculous my example might sound right now. For the model, assuming she is 5'9" ish, it means losing about 35 pounds.

It is unhealthy to have a high BMI and unless you are Venus Williams and that weight is all muscle, 180 pounds on a woman is not healthy. We should not move in the direction of accepting that. We should be doing everything we can to encourage people to eat REAL FOOD and exercise. It is simple and it works.

These campaigns for beauty are perhaps helping the mental health of women, but not the physical health. For this reason we should not just accept that we are getting heavier. Let's do something about it.

Sean C. Amore said...

To be clear - I didn't mean "accept" as in "oh well, there is nothing we can do about it" as much as I meant "accept" in the context of we (I say that in the royal sense (smile)) are not trying to pretend that we are not getting bigger (that probably doesn't make any sense at all).

One other point we agree on is that the first key here is to allow us to see ourselves for who we really are - only then can we start to figure out how to be better (lose weight, love ourselves, both, neither (smile))!

Sorry to raise your ire, friend!

This Show said...

The hottest girl I've ever met in person is a very successful professional "plus sized model." What makes her plus sized? Not being anorexic.

We should call her a "healthy sized model."

But it's amazing she has the stigma of a "plus sized" career. But all she really has is sexy curves.

So much hotter than the "minus sized models."

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Becca said...

I have enjoyed reading through some of your journey today. Your family is so beautiful! I do want to say that I really liked the Glamour spread. No, no one was really obese like I am, but they were more "real bodied" than what magazines normally show. Most of my friends are size 10-18 and they all seem to feel similarly about their bodies. I say to accept they are beautiful. Be healthy, but accept the beauty.