Monday, March 17, 2008

Times They Ain't A Changin

Ok so we've gotten a lot of lip service the past year or two about allowing women to look like women - curves and all. Tabloids constantly rail against the super skinny socialites (no pun intended - well kinda). Magazines laud women like America Fererra and Jennifer Hudson for looking fabulous naturally. Shows like The Swan have gone the way of the Dodo. Even the The Spanish Association of Fashion Designers banned any model with a BMI of less than 18 from Fashion Week last year.

So why isn't it working? Why are women still made to feel inferior if they are not stick thin? Why is skinny so celebrated? Why is Queen Latifah's diet the lead story on Inside Edition? Why do tabloids run whole issues on spotting celebrity cellulite? Why aren't we seeing real figures on America's Next Top Model (except for one token each season) or in Vogue.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think being clinically overweight or obese is healthy, beautiful or good. But I also don't think that turning yourself into a living skeleton is any better. There has to be some middle ground here folks.

If you don't think that things are as serious as I make them to be, just take a look at the following. The first photo is a model/starlette on the red carpet for a Vegas club opening. What on Earth could make her think this is a good look? Wanna count her ribs along with me? The dress just HANGS off her frame. But yet she got photographed and shown:

Ok so you say, "Hey that's one misguided model who was in Sin City for a big bash. Mainstream America isn't buying into this." Really? Take a look at the photo in my JCrew email today and tell me that middle American retailers aren't still on this train? Just look at the poor girl's elbows and knees - not to mention her waist that almost isn't there. And what's the caption? "Covet and Collect". A look to covet apparently.

This is what our kids are supposed to aspire to? Now those of you that knew me as a kid - or even through school - may wonder what right I have to complain. Yes I was a rail - I was skinny and gangly and bony. The difference is, I wasn't celebrated, lauded, admired or fawned over because of it. I didn't knock myself out to get that way and would have given anything for some curves. However even all of that said, I very much remember thinking that if I ever got over 120lbs (on my 5'9" frame) that I would just kill myself.

I don't want my daughter to grow up thinking the world ends at size 4.

I wish I knew what women could do to stop this insane beauty myth. But I'm at a loss. All I can do is pledge to raise my daughter to be happy with being healthy - whatever that is on her. Its a tall order considering all the other propaganda she'll be hit with daily, but one of the most important lessons I could ever teach - and I'll take that role on wholeheartedly.

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