Thursday, October 1, 2009

Variety - The Spice of Life

Glamour magazine is starting a fashion revolution of sorts. A short while back they printed a small photo of a lovely, curvy woman named Lizzie. In the modeling world Lizzie would be considered plus-sized. Anyone wearing a size 6 or larger is considered plus-sized in the fashion industry. In the real world Lizzie is actually only a few pounds over for her height.

Public response was overwhelming. The photo caused such a stir - a positive stir - that Glamour executives now state they intend to include photos of women of varying shapes and sizes in upcoming editions. (To read the article and gaze upon some gorgeous normal-sized women, go to this website:

I'm thrilled and so are thousands of other people, men and women alike. Glamour is a women's publication and as such should provide their readers with a variety of ladies with which to identify. It just makes good marketing sense, if you ask me.

Not all response to Lizzie's photo was positive. As you can imagine, there were plenty of men (and women) that criticized Lizzie for being fat and Glamour for condoning poor health. Those opinions were expected albeit narrow. The comments that annoyed me the most, however, were the ones that implied that women who are insecure about their bodies and tired of being compared to unreasonable industry standards are in some way misguided or petty.

I read several comments advising women that the only people whose opinions should matter are their husbands' or their boyfriends'. When I hear statements like that, I feel as if people are trying to shame me into living only for my spouse. To me that equates to thinking what he wants me to think, going where he wants me to go, socializing with whom he wants me to socialize. My identity and my self-image become totally dependent upon his whims, if that is the case.

Most folks will not agree with me here, but I did say that this is how I feel about the issue. What one thinks and what one feels are not the same thing.

Some husbands wrote in that they didn't care what their wives looked like, that they loved them anyway. I think they meant that they love their wives for what is on the inside, but saying they "don't care" gives the message that they no longer look at them or long for their wives in a physical way.

(Guys, if you are guilty of this, stop immediately.) Suffice it to say that this is not a helpful statement in a marriage.

I recently expressed my own insecurities to a friend. I told her that due to events in my life, I no longer felt beautiful. She told me that the only person I should want to be beautiful for is me. It sounded good at the time, and I think she meant well, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I will probably never buy into that. Isn't the real purpose of physical beauty to attract one that you desire? If you are not attractive, in that sense of the word, and a mate is either absent or unresponsive, what then is the point of thinking you are beautiful?

I applaud the executives at Glamour for taking a risk. I'm glad that a publication with it's level of influence in the industry is challenging society's views on beauty. I also applaud them for not taking sides. The super-thin are not being bashed, obesity is not being condoned. They are simply making an effort to celebrate all makes and models of women. And I think it is about dang time.

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