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Curvy, Skinny, Make it Real.

August 21, 2012

I think body image is something that affects pretty much everyone.  I know M and I have talked extensively about how we can get the nasty voices out of our heads and learn to love our bodies.  One promise we’ve made each other is to stop calling ourselves “fat.” And boy you never realize how much you use a word until you’re not allowed to anymore.

This is why we wanted to take the day to discuss…. Body Image.

I read this article  on fox news today and wanted to share my thoughts.

It is nothing new that our society dotes on big breasts and sex appeal- so it comes as no surprise that magazines are digitally altering subjects to look “curvier” aka sexier.  But before we start, let’s get something straight: they are not altering them to look “fatter.”  This is where I may get a little picky about word choice.  But come on, the language we use about our bodies changes the way we think about them.  To soften bone thin model’s arms, give them larger breasts and child bearing hips is not the same as making them look like a natural body size or anything close to this word “fat” or “curvy.”  Instead, it creates the EVEN MORE impossible standard and expectation that you can have a model thin waist, and simultaneously have softness, breasts, hips and er… a butt.

If we use the word “fatter” to describe Kierra Knightly’s bust increase, or Lady gaga’s hips on the cover of vogue, how will that affect the way we think about ourselves?  If curvy is used to describe a model that is still unbelievably thin but now has photoshopped hips and breasts, how will real life “curvy” girls describe themselves?

I am all for showing “curvy” girls in the media.  But this labeling is counter productive.  Hire models who are actually a healthy weight.  Stop making skinny girls look curvier and stop photoshopping curvier girls to look skinnier.  This weird body type does not exist in nature!  Kim Kardashian, undoubtedly one of the most celebrated women for her “sex appeal,” is constantly airbrushed and smoothed.  Wouldn’t it be great if it was ok for one of the sexiest women in the world to bare her cellulite (because she has it!)? Wouldn’t that be more relatable?

If were going to celebrate Kim Kardashian for her body, then we should celebrate her for her real body- which is beautiful just the way it is.

Same goes for Kate Upton.  I both like and dislike Kate Upton for various reasons.  Forbes wrote this article on Kate Upton which calls bullshit on her relateability… And while it makes some excellent points, I can’t help but applaud inside when I see her walking down the runway, her love handles creasing at her ribs.  Yes, she is by no means fat.  Yes, she does not represent the average american woman.  BUT in terms of models, she’s unarguably much fuller and healthier looking- and much more relatable.

The below images make me want to bust out my bathing suit and rock that shit the way she does.

Still, when you see her on the cover of a magazine or in a swimsuit add, her figure looks somehow tighter and smoothed.  And that- is not only less relatable, but disappointing.  I say promote more accurate depiction of women’s bodies; No matter what their body actually is, that is what should be shown.

The other great thing about Kate Upton is that she has opened up a debate about what it means to be “plus size.”  Some have argued that she is not plus sized, some have argued that she is bigger than some plus sized models.  If everyone’s body is shown for what it is- fuller, thinner, curvier, flatter, bustier- then the term plus-size would kind of be obsolete.  Maybe we should do away with the term altogether, since “plus size” is actually closer to normal. Do away with the unhealthily thin models that are told they are not skinny enough, and make the norm of modeling women who have healthy, real bodies.

When someone like Crystal Renn stops starving herself and goes to her natural beautiful body size, that should be called a “regular model” not a plus size model.  How disappointed I was when she dropped back down 4 sizes- as were many others.

But nonetheless, we can’t crucify the models when it is the industry that is telling them to be thinner and deciding the work they get depending on their weight.  All we can do is support the models who do look healthy and real, and make sure the media knows that this is what we want to see.  Yay for buying power!

Peace and Love,

-K

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