Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Seven Beauties...

This photograph is considered scandalous. Yes it is. In the 21st Century when anything goes, and we have seen the private parts of almost every celebrity, either in movies or in print, this photograph has caused a huge sensation. But, it's not for the reason you may think. This photograph is considered shocking because it is a photo of plus-sized models. Yes! Plus-sized, as in larger than size 4. These women are considered chubby, plump, portly, large -- fat. Can you believe it?

The woman on the left is considered a "normal" woman -- used in advertising to represent "real" women. She is the image that advertisers use to sell products to women. Women who don't fit this template don't buy the products. So they change their bodies to fit the standard, and develop eating disorders in the process. The woman on the right is a "plus-size" model and is considered fat. Many modelling agencies -- including Janice Dickinson's agency -- refuse to hire plus-size models such as this woman.

In the movie "The Devil Wears Prada", Nigel snootily informs Andrea that they have nothing that would fit her, because she is a size 6, and all their samples are from 0 to 4. What is a size 0 anyway? Is that for someone who has no body? Designer fashions stop at size 10 or 12. If you wear a size 14, good luck in trying to find designer fashions. When I was 18 years old, I weighed 120 pounds and wore a size 10. By today's standards that is plus-sized, because the sizes have been reduced, but unfortunately women's bodies have not. The average Canadian or American woman is 5 ft. 4 in. tall and weighs 140 pounds. In other words -- plus size! And believe me, no one will ever mistake me for the woman on the left.

Let's get real and start celebrating our curves again. When we came into this world, God did not provide us with an air brush.


The Bug said...

I'm a little more plus than I should be (she says while eating candy corn), but there is no way I want to look like that scarecrow! Fortunately Dr. M likes for women to look healthy, not emaciated...

I can't afford those designer fashions anyway LOL.

Whitney Lee said...

Wow. I think the top photo is beautiful. And I think the model on the left needs some serious nutrition.
Why is it we keep hearing about how skewed the advertising industry's view of women is and yet little is done to change it?
I have been all across the board; through the years I've been everything from a size 2 to a size 14. It's tough to feel good about your size when bombarded with images of 'attractive women' who are so far outside the realm of the average woman.
Right now I'm gently rounded (I'm expecting) and feel pretty good about myself. I read an article not long ago about the prevalence of anorexia in pregnant women. That just goes to show how pervasive these messages of beauty can be. How sad.

Brandywine said...

I can not understand why these women are considered "plus size". Who makes these rules, anyway?

Jennifer D said...

Oh Jo, you've done it again.Great post. I LOVE that photo with all the "Plus" ladies. I am starting to think air brushing should be banned in magazines although I am envious of the fact that my son can have his pimples air brushed away on his school photos... I sure could have used that when I was a teen!
Those ladies are Gorgeous and that poor little waif looks oh so hungry and sad, she actually looks like she may die, soon. It is a shame that our young and impressionable girls are dieting so early in life, it pleases me that in some cases, like the Dove girls and the shot above from Glamour,the models look like healthy women.I know that there are plenty of healthy naturally thin women out there, but the rest of us have been left out. Maybe the times are changing?

Jo- this is off subject but I wanted to mention a movie I just saw on DVD, "My Life in Ruins" with Nia Vardalos. Within the first 40 seconds or so Nia gives Canadians a big complement, and even though the Canadians are not the main focus of the movie it is obvious that when it comes to tourism Canadians are ideal. I think you may enjoy it, I did.

Alicia said...

I don't understand how we as women get all caught up in this size thing. I know that I myself have been guilty of it. And then you read books like the one Valerie Bertinelli wrote about how no matter how successful she was or how everyone thought she was beautiful she felt ugly because she wasn't a size 0. I think as long as we are a size HEALTHY, that is all that should matter. I hope women wise up soon.

greenpanda said...

The top photo is beautiful, sexy and good to look at.
The woman with the feather-things covering her body just made me feel kind of grossed out.

Meh, I want to be less chubby, but I dont think it really matters anyway since no one would see the difference.... it's only my stomach.

leilani said...

Jo i once has this black and white bathing suit. I thought that everytime a dolphin looked at me he thought he was seeing an Orca whale =0P One day i realized ONLY us HUMAN have WEIGHT issues. This is a great post. I think all the women in the first pic are just lovely!

Anonymous said...

the 'normal' woman makes me feel sick to my stomach. I know I like being a certain weight and a certain size, and that is my own issue, but never at the expense of food. I love food tooooo much. If I am a little jiggly, then so be it.
Besides, too little body fat is a cause of infertility, which, to me, is what being a woman is all about. Being a mother. I know some will disagree, but I always knew i wanted to be a mother and being too skinny is a way to kill that dream.

Arley said...

The women on the left looks like something out of a Halloween catalog. Too scary to look at. I don't see what's so attractive about looking anorexic. There are actually people in the world who are that thin and not by choice. To me its a mockery of those poor people. Its all just sick...

Land of shimp said...

I always wonder how history will judge our current standard of beauty. That woman on the left looks so odd, her head appears to be HUGE because her body is so darned tiny.

I think we have a problem in our society with tying weight to health almost to the exclusion of all else. Someone the size of the model on the left can have all sorts of health problems, and the model on the right can have every appropriate, healthy level.

As for the picture up top, I have only one thing to say: Boy would my husband ever LOVE that photo.

Brenda said...

My husband and I go to the bookstore almost every weekend, and I scout through several magazines that I may not necessarily buy but want to see what they are all about. There are several on diet, exercise, etc. of course, but one has really caught my eye the past few months called "Shape". I swear they use the same exact body on the cover and just photo shop a celebrity head on that body. It is so airbrushed it looks like a cartoon.

Russell said...

Nice post. We do live in a society where advertisers have created stereo type images which are often distorted.

Men are supposed to be tall, broad shouldered, muscular, and have flowing thick hair.

The stereo types are fine for romance novels. As Barbara Taylor Bradford says "people like to read about beautiful people." But in real life, people are people.

Take a walk around a shopping mall some day or where you work or get on a city bus or just go anywhere -- and you will see people do not look like the stereotypes.

What makes a person beautiful is their sense of self confidence, their attitude towards life and how they feel about other people.

If a person likes other people, other people will like them. Any person who gets very concerned about physical appearance will be frustrated their entire lives.

But people who accept and love others as well as themselves for the people they are will find happiness.

nomore said...

WOW...Thats all great !!Best of best the pictures among your Blog...As a silly guess the right side the Plus is rather than the a sole,Wow, Wow....Great !!!!!

susie said...

Great post, Jo! I hate that when I go to buy jeans (irregulars because they're cheaper) the only sizes they have are 0-3, and 36" long. They look like a fence post! I only know one person almost that skinny, and she's only 20 and doesn't diet.

Those skinny models are going to have bone problems when they get older.

Anonymous said...

Good morning Jo,
over here in Athens one is able to tell whether it is spring or winter by looking at the advertisments shown upon busses, taxi or bus stations, offering to loose weight and showing already the result.
It was only a couple of days ago that last I heard, how beautiful it is to be thin...well, it seems that there's still much needed to make understood that for some it is not this what makes beauty.
A wonderful Friday for you.

p.s.: you might like to update your bloglist, since the former blog is gone. Merci in advance.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Being a plus sized male chauvinist squirrel, I totally agree with the sentiment of this post. Bring back the curves indeed! As you know I think of Sophia Loren as the ideal. All curves there.

Anonymous said...

I've always been a fan of plus-size models! There's a great site with many images of plus-size models here:

They're all gorgeous.

The site's forum also has thought-provoking discussions about body image and the media.

kenju said...

AMEN! That woman on the left is a scarecrow - I can say that because I used to be built like that. Some modeling agent had the gall to tell me that I'd have to lose 10 pounds and wear a girdle to be in a fashion show. I told them to kiss my skinny butt.

ivan said...

Ah, it's those durn fashion designers. They like boyish figures, I guess.
Nothing like a full figure. Even beyond full. I'm with Rubens.

And even the rock group Queen." Fat bottom girls make the world go around."
Exuberant Baroque!

Anonymous said...

the women looks fabulous! the thin model looks like she haven't eaten for weeks! she got no sex appeal at all!

plusstyle said...

"Plus" should be a good thing. It means you have a little something extra! I would have prefered these woman in swimsuits - but they probably could not find samples in their sizes!

O. Joy said...

Amen, amen, amen. Now... let's get guys to "get it"! Great post. I will embrace my size 14 today!

Charles Gramlich said...

Most airbrushing results look so inhuman as to be a turn off.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Being a woman of substance, I applaud your post! Size 14? I wish! I was a yoyo dieter all my life and now that I am of a certain age, I find that I have weighed about same for the past 10 years. All my check-ups show that I am otherwise healthy. I wonder if those bone thin models are as healthy?

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Which takes us back to your great previous post on laughter. Laugh well and die happy. And "nice to meet you Jo!"

Kimberly said...

I hate to burst bubbles but I would love for someone to say "Omg, child, please eat something. You're too thin"...

JeannetteLS said...

Those young women are beautiful. Just beautiful.And women twice their size and age are often beautiful, too.

And I've met some really fit, active women my age with bodies half my size and six times as strong who look as if they have had lives where nothing about themselves or their own lives was quite good enough. My daughter died of bulemia... I threw away my scale years ago.

Even when I was young, I could never understand the preoccupation with THIN, waiflike... Great piece, as always, Jo.

Gary Heller said...

Interesting topic. I doubt that the designers and the industry feels the skinny model is the norm or should be, but rather feels that the look helps sell the clothes and also seems to attract the viewer much like a freak in circus. thats just it, it does not look normal and looks "eye catching and edgy"
Plump woman and plus size woman have been the subjects of the master painters since the beginning of time.
I think that photo of the group of woman is fantastic, really well done.
Great blog you have. I like your portrait in the avatar. there is something very delightful and almost whimiscal in it, in a most positive way.

Cedar said...

All great responses...but I think you have to ask yourself on which one of these models could you chip a tooth? Exactly.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I think the photo of the seven women is very beautiful. Every one of them is gorgeous and looks like a woman, not a prepubescent boy.

I wear size 2, but I am also 5'1" with a very small bone structure. I have curves and do not look like an Auschwitz survivor. The so-called "normal" fashion model is also a size 2, but she is at least 5'9" and in most cases, around 6 ft in height. What are we teaching young girls when they are urged to sacrifice their health for an unrealistic ideal of "beauty?"

Have you ever seen "Real Women Have Curves" with the actress who plays "Ugly Betty?" It's marvelous and utterly charming.

A human kind of human said...

Well, I am a size 18! and proud of it. I come from strong, solid, Afrikaner stock like our indigenous cattle, and have you seen the price of prime rump steaks lately? At leas I know what I am worth. As for the poor girl on the left, who would want her steaks? I know why designers only design for those skeletal sizes... it is because they have to dress their bodies to be anything to look at. (lol)

Miranda said...

Uhm my boyfriend walked in when I was reading this post and said "what are you looking at?!" ha! I have a big problem with my body and my image of my body. I am overweight and I hate it. I used to be in shape and I had curves, even when I weighed 135lbs, (I'm 5'9"). I was really just "meh" about my body and I regret that, I don't know why but I didn't hold on to it, I just let go, and now today I weigh 240lbs. I've gained over 100lbs since I graduated college 8 years ago. My hate of my body isn't from pictures in magazines I don't read them. I've never wanted to be a skinny model. Now that I am overweight and very most likely unhealthy I don't want to do anything to change it. I can't bring myself to do anything. And with all these pictures about people being "plus sized" at size 6 just kills me. And have you seen the outfits people come up with for people that are like me a size 20 and above?! It's all glitter and butterflies and lame Disney characters. It makes me want to just throw a curtain on myself and stay at home.
Anyway I'm rambling. With everything going one in this world I really wish we didn't have to fixate on our looks. I wish we could just be "us"
Thanks for posting that picture and making this post!
(Oh and thanks for the kind thoughts and comments on my blog!)

Barry said...

Those are gorgeous women. Healthy beats sickly any day.

I think there needs to be a very special place in Hell for fashion designers.

Jo said...

♦ The Bug, I'm sure Dr. M. loves you just the way you are. :-)

♦ Whitney, you sound like an absolutely healthy woman. The woman on the left probably cannot even become pregnant.

♦ Brandywine, I know! Plus what, exactly?

♦ Jennifer, yes, I think the trend is beginning to swing the other way, with the Dove commercials and now Glamor Magazine. Thank goodness!

♦ Alicia, I agree! and the woman on the left is definitely (!!!) not healthy.

♦ Stephen, I am glad to hear that, as a young man, you like the picture at the top. That gives us hope. :-)

♦ Leilani, LOL. I had a friend who didn't want to go swimming because she thought all the kids would start singing "Baby Beluga". Sad. :-)

♦ Cat, you are so right! And the woman on the left probably has to suffer -- a lot -- to look that way.

♦ Arley, my goodness, you have hit the nail on the head. There are people who are starving and malnourished, and not by choice!

♦ Alane, that's the thing! I think most men would love the picture at the top. And doesn't it seem odd that in a period in history when food is plentiful, the standard of beauty is anorexia? You have an interesting point!

♦ Brenda, yes, those are what is called "lollipop heads". There is nothing in nature that actually resembles those things. :-)

♦ Russell, in real life, I see very, very (!!!) few people who are naturally beautiful, the way they are represented in movies or books. As you say, people are just people. Even movies stars are "made over" first.

♦ Nomore, yes, in my opinion the women at the top, and on the right are beautiful. And they are not skinny! They are normal.

♦ Susie, those skinny women are going to have a lot of problems, especially when they do start to put on weight. It's dreadful what they are doing to themselves.

♦ Robert, even where you live? I thought it was just a North American thing. My goodness. (I have updated my blog roll now.)

Jo said...

♦ LGS, Sophia Loren was exquisitely beautiful, and she said she attributed it to all the spaghetti she ate. *heh* She was not skinny!

♦ Google Account, I checked out your site. Thank you!

♦ Kenju, I certainly hope you don't look like that anymore! My goodness!

♦ Ivan, LOL. It seems that men see women much differently than women do. And thank goodness for that!

♦ Noteither, I agree. She looks as if she belongs in a hospital.

♦ Plusstyle, I know. It's ridiculous, isn't it? What on earth do "real" women wear!?

♦ O. Joy, hopefully men like woman to have some curves. They couldn't possible find the woman on the left beautiful -- could they!?

♦ Charles, I know! They look completely artificial.

♦ Kathy, if you have weighed the same for ten years, that would mean you are doing something right. Yo-yo dieting is the worst thing you can do.

♦ Leslie, welcome. :-) Laugh well and die happy. I like that...!

♦ Kimberly, oh yes! But she has probably forgotten how to eat.

♦ Jeanette, omigod, your daughter died of bulemia? Oh, my goodness! I would throw away the scales too, if I were you. You must have been just heartbroken. You have seen first hand what a horrible influence the fashion industry is on young women. I'm so sorry!

♦ Gary, that is an interesting theory -- eye catching and edgy. Yes, that would make sense. Edgy does sell, doesn't it? It certainly does seem to catch the eye. (And, thank you...)

♦ Ris, LOL. Oh, goodness yes. That skinny woman is absolutely skeletal.

♦ Hearts, it's frightening, isn't it? Do you remember Twiggy? So many girls emulated her, they died of anorexia. And what on earth made them think that was beautiful!?

♦ A Human Kind of Human, LOL. My grandmother was Afrikaner too, and she was absolutely gorgeous, and she was not (!!!) skinny.

♦ Miranda, I don't think you are in the minority. There are so many reality TV shows helping people to lose weight, and most of them are young people. I guess the main thing would be to watch your blood pressure and make sure you stay healthy, and when you are ready to make a change, you will do it for yourself, and not for anyone else.

♦ Barry, LOL. I guess that is why the "biopic" of Anna Wintour was called "The Devil Wears Prada". *heh*

Anonymous said...

Rock on; beauty comes in infinite variations.
When I complained recently to a friend about my physical flaws, she told me she thinks of these "flaws" we have as the Maker's marks on us; like the fingerprints of the potter on a ceramic piece. I love this and I wonder, if when I've complained about such things, if God isn't hurt - as though I have called Him a poor artist.
- Jade (

Paula Slade said...

A couple of years ago I was commissioned to write a series of articles on eating disorders, and was privileged to interview many who either struggled with anorexia, bulimia or binge eating. Some personally did not have the disease(s) but had a close family member or child who had been diagnosed with one or more of the conditions. The effects on these families, emotionally and financially, are staggering. The onset of eating disorders oftentimes stems from societal pressures, which not only include the media's portrayal of the "ideal body image," but also a common background of abuse (at home, school or the workplace.) I was enlightened recently about a test that Glamour magazine had done that featured a plus-sized model in the nude. The deluge of positive comments from women everywhere was overwhelming. I would like to think that maybe the fashion industry is starting to get in step with reality. I say, embrace what you have been given - here's to being a plus!

Anonymous said...

Funny, I'm 5'4 and 140 pounds! XD well 143 and I kinda like how my body looks... but yeah.. seeing all these models with their tiny little waists can make me feel kinda crappy at times... like I shouldnt be so lazy and work out... T_T

littlemisstrouble said...

Lovely post! Just a question: who is the photographer of the seven models? Do you know where it first appeared? It's amazing!!

littlemisstrouble said...

Lovely post! Just a question: who is the photographer of the seven models? Do you know where it first appeared? It's amazing!!