Women, Love Your Bodies

 Female language is funny.  I was discussing female bodies with my friend after he told me a girl broke up with him based on a misinterpreted comment about her weight.  I told him never to assume anything with regard to a woman’s weight.  In our conversation, he used the word ‘shapely.’  I said to be careful using that word, because it can be construed as ‘fat.’  Then he used the word ‘athletic.’  I said to be careful using that too, because if it refers to above the waist, it can be construed as a small chest, and if it refers to below the waist, it can be construed as bulky.

 

Are we really that complex?  Most men I’ve encountered have a much deeper appreciation for variety within the female form than women give them credit for.  Women critique and analyze every centimeter of their bodies (certainly not all women, but many).  They set themselves up for failure by taking cues from the acting and modeling industries.  In that sense, I think men somewhat inflame the problem, because the norm within those industries is what men come to expect as the contemporary iconic sex symbol.  However, that’s just association.  In everyday life, men seem to be far more tolerant, forgiving, and loving of figure flaws than women realize.

 

My judgment might be wrong, but from what I’ve observed, models were ‘shapely’ until 1965, when Edie Sedgwick ushered in the impossibly thin boyish look as a model for Vogue in New York.  The models before Edie would now probably be viewed as somewhat matronly with their curves and red lipstick.  Edie is my favorite model of all time.  She changed everything.  Within months, New York women were emulating her style, and within a year, the world was.  She had no curves, was muscular but incredibly thin, was extremely pale, wore nude lipstick, cropped her hair short, and played up her boyish persona.  At the same time, she was heavy on black eye makeup and fake lashes, wore oversized jewelry, and dressed exquisitely feminine.  Sound sort of like today’s models (minus the cropped hair)?  Twiggy ushered in 1966.  She is usually credited with creating a unique look, but like Edie before her, she had almost platinum blonde hair, an impossibly boyish figure (she was 16), pale skin, nude lips, and went over the top with black eye makeup and fake lashes.  Edie preceded her, but Edie’s fame was mostly confined to New York, whereas Twiggy was international.  Twiggy changed a lot, but Edie deserves the credit for being the leading light.  (Below: Edie on the left, Twiggy on the right.)

edie-296.jpg sixties7.jpg

The fashion industry still hasn’t moved on from many of the style norms set by women like Edie and Twiggy.  The industry has traditionally always swung like a pendulum between trends and body types, but the rail-thin angular model has been a runway norm ever since the sixties.  Designers claim such models are better for runways because they come closest to emulating what clothes look like on a clothes hanger (truly), and this is somehow desirable to them.  The trend has come under heavy crossfire lately due to concern over super skinny models.  The sixties influence is enormously popular now (although it’s waning), and with the resurgence of sixties style, the demand for super skinny models has become greater than ever.  The two historically went together, so it seems like a predictable match again.  The style trend will change, and with it, I think more shapely models will make the biggest comeback since the 1950s.  No small part may be that the heavier the public gets, the less women will tolerate anorexic frames on magazine covers and in movies.  The runways will, as always, precede the trend, Hollywood will follow, and it will filter down to style for the masses. 

Will any of this affect how men view their women at home?  I still believe most men are gracious, respectful, and awed by the form of their female lover, no matter what she sees in the mirror.

Advertisements

7 Comments

Filed under Beautiful People, sixties

7 responses to “Women, Love Your Bodies

  1. we are our worst critics. from my experience, i find that i feel better about my body when i wear clothes that flatter my shape, and when the significant other compliments me, even though i don’t quite believe him, haha. but i keep that compliment tucked inside my head, and the more he gives, the more i feel like hmm, i don’t look too bad myself.

    :)

  2. i approve you
    http://www.btbnt.com
    surprise to have a look

  3. I was discussing female bodies with my friend after he told me a girl broke up with him based on a misinterpreted comment about her weight. I told him never to assume anything with regard to a woman’s weight. In our conversation, he used the word ‘shapely.’ I said to be careful using that word, because it can be construed as ‘fat.’ Then he used the word ‘athletic.’ I said to be careful using that too, because if it refers to above the waist, it can be construed as a small chest, and if it refers to below the waist, it can be construed as bulky, especially pertaining to thighs.

    Are we really that complex?

    Yes. Hahaha. I offer my apologies to men trying to navigate through the landmines of female body issues. ;)

    Most men I’ve encountered have a much deeper appreciation for variety within the female form than women give them credit for. Women critique and analyze every centimeter of their bodies (certainly not all women, but many). They set themselves up for failure by taking cues from the acting and modeling industries.

    Will any of this affect how men view their women at home? I still believe most men are gracious, respectful, and awed by the form of their female lover, no matter what she sees in the mirror.

    I agree; I think that women need to stop comparing themselves to each other and just celebrate the unique bodies God has given them; most men are much more gracious, respectful, and awed by the female form, including those forms that are “flawed,” as we women so like to readily ascribe to ourselves, that we just need to stop anaylyzing and overthinking. One of the most attractive things about a woman is her confidence – she can’t be confident if she is constantly worrying about her physique.

  4. Christy, I agree that confidence is more attractive than any physical feature I’ve ever seen. Thanks for the comments. :)

  5. Kevin Olsen

    What does the future hold for the fashionable female frame?

    Some may think my prediction to be dispicable, others might wag their heads in an unfortuante way, but Americans are so superficial the truth is an ugly thing. Models will not go back to a “fuller” look anytime soon.

    True, many women are overweight, but by and large the younger generation is not happy to tilt the scales. Of course there are social and racial equations to be factored, carried, and squared . . . but by and large American women are so obsessed with being “perfect” (aka: smallish) that despite the countless times doctors and professionals have tried to sway the popular conception (consider the short-lived waist size of Barbie; intented to reflect the everyday woman as opposed to the Olsen twins) teeny-boppers cannot be comfortable in their skin unless it hugs their bones like a leotard.

    To be sure, as a man, I am attracted to the curvey/thinnish side of the populace. And isn’t it really all about what men think? Take Victoria’s Secret for example . . . it was founded by a man named Roy who’s secret was that he loved women’s underwear. The name Victoria was borrowed from the Queen . . . a rather prudish female.

    Cue the femminist erruption! How dare I suggest that women’s mainstream fashion is dictated by the whims of men . . . because it is. The fashion industry, the adveritising industry, and the sex industry mold and sketch our perception of the perfect women. And all three of those industries work together in perfect sync to accomplish the same ends in the same means.

    It’s no wonder women are so sensitive about their bodies. The world in which we live has scrawled the message in blood . . . “judge a woman by her cover.”

  6. Hi Kevin, thanks for the thoughts. You may be right…we may not see fashion’s return to a more authentic female form for a while. Maybe I was being a bit naively hopeful. So as a man, you are willing to say men contribute to the problem…that’s brave, and I appreciate it. I’m not letting women off the hook as far as responsibility, but it’s hard to sit through an episode of Sex and the City and hear comments like, “Woah, I thought Sarah Jessica Parker was skinnier than that?” (a male friend actually said this to me recently). Society’s perception of perfection is shockingly skewed. It’s appalling that women are judged so superficially, but I don’t know what the answer is. Start small with ourselves, I guess, and work our way up by influencing others…? When women are compared against the double-zero fashion standard (and it happens to all women at some point), it has the potential to damage their self-esteem for years to come. Women should be confident, because that is beautiful. Diversity is a wonderful thing.

  7. bottlecappie

    I remember reading some article or study a while ago that correlated cultural beauty norms with the wealty of the country. Wealthy countries equate skinniness with beauty, while poorer countries equate fatness with beauty.

    I think the most damaging thing for women is not whether skinny is in or curves are hot this year – it’s the deeply held belief that we are valued for our appearance above all else that really fucks us up.

    The only remedy for that is to love yourself for who you are – for me, quitting the tv and women’s mags helped that a LOT. I’ve also made a commitment not to “police” other women to make sure they’re conforming to the norms, ie, judging women by their clothing, or even saying things to my friends like: What was she thinking when she walked out in that?

    The programming runs deep.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s