In Praise of Meaty Women

I, Laurie Kendrick, am pissed off.

You see, I have grown very tired of the concept of being “ridiculously thin to be considered in”.

I have had my fill with the men who will only pursue this anatomical ideal that Hollywood and Glamor, Cosmo and Maxim and Playboy have forced fed us. In fact, I’ve had my fill of women who are so shallow as to think being bone thin is the only way to be and are literally killing themselves in an attempt to stay skinny to keep their men and society happy.

Fuck that noise.

I feel this way legitimately. It’s not stemming from an attempt to justify the fact that I am not a particularly thin woman. It is true, I have lost a considerable amount of weight in recent months and while I’d be considered a great piece of ass in at least 21 countries, I’m still not Cosmo worthy. I am a woman of who could be described as “upholstered”…to a degree. No sinewy musculature pokes out anywhere and no part of my skeletal system protrudes; it remains completely obscured.

Except for my wonderfully chiseled cheekbones.

But even with pounds lost, I’d still be considered chubby by many, but here’s your reality check, Society–I’M YOUR AVERAGE WOMAN!!!!!! I’m the norm. More North American women look just like me.

Meet the face, ass and gut of average America.

It’s rounded. It protrudes. It hangs over waistbands like a bran muffin top.

It jiggles and often moves of it’s own accord.

It is the stuff of which real women are made.

But none of that matters. Thin women are the ones who idealized. Men will look twice at a thin women–it doesn’t matter if her face looks like it was set ablaze, then extinguished with 30-rounds from an M-16. It’s about the damned body!

Yep–men will ogle and admire thin women; then, they’ll shake their heads while making that “eye squinting, lip pursing face” while inhaling loudly—as if they’ve just been served a perfect prime rib, yet invariably, they’ll go home to wives and girlfriends who are struggling to squeeze their ever expanding frames into their size 16 jersey knit stretch pants.

It used to be so different.

How did this happen? When did this happen?

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Back 300-400 years or so, heavier women were the preferred stock. Men loved women who were heavier. Socially, it was all the rage because being zaftig was a sign of wealth; there was a correlation between adipose women and a family who was loaded. Obviously, it meant you had enough money to buy enough food to eat.

And furthermore, large woman, large dowry.

In fact, the famed counter-reformation artist, Peter Paul Ruben painted a number of portraits of women…all of them heavy. It was a combination of his style and the common girth of his subjects that became an adjective to describe larger women….Rubenesque.

We still use that term today.

His appreciation of the much fuller female form is evidenced in this lovely piece, “Venus At A Mirror”, painted sometime around the year 1615.

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Corporally, this is a woman of substance. Not thin by any means, but certainly not obese. There is a big difference between the women in this portrait…

And this woman:

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Some of you might laugh and guffaw at this woman. Sadly, that’s also part of a conditioned response. Our first impression of her would be reflective of societal norms. Initially, we’d probably think that she’s lazy and worthless and from a certain socio-economic level that deems Little Debbie Snack Cakes with green sprinkles to be a vegetable. We would be repulsed at first glance and God forbid we’d stop for a second to think about what physical maladies might be plaguing her; what serious psychological issues are at play here.

No, none of that matters–she’s just a big, fat, ugly, reprehensibly lazy slob and that’s that.

Yet, I ask you– is the photo above any more disturbing than one from the opposite end of the spectrum??

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Both are horribly tragic.

Eating disorders are surging these days. We overeat, binge eat; we’re bulimics–we have our cake and heave it, too and we’re anorexics.

A countless number of women are afflicted with body-dysmorphic disorder. In short, it effects perception. What a dysmorphic sees when she looks at her body and what her body really looks like are two completely different things. She sees what her illness makes her see and her reflection in the mirror becomes the enemy.

This photo exemplifies that perfectly.

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It says it all, in fact.

This is real, my friends and this isn’t a gross exaggeration. This is reality for a person suffering with body dysmorphic disorder. What you’re seeing is, in effect, what the dysmorphic sees. Distorted beyond belief.

Tragically, people are dying from the diseases associated with this…yes, men too, though the numbers are disproportionately female.

But statistics regarding increasing fatalities among binge eaters, anorexics and bulimics be damned—thin is the goal. Images like this are ubiquitous.

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And wanna know what’s so damn ridiculous about this image?

If she were eight years younger, black and living in Biafra, the BBC would feature her in a documentary. A United Nations Humanitarian Aid box would soon arrive near her village via air drop and a day or two later, we’d see her fly-ridden face staring blankly at the camera while slowly teething this over-sized Pop Tart looking cracker thing.

Sir Bob Geldoff would eventually see the documentary and be moved to write a special Christmas song about it. He’d gather a few of his fellow British warblers together to sing it while being filmed–a video would be produced and long story short, a billion British pounds would be raised for famine relief.

More of them big, Pop Tart looking crackers for everyone……

But nooooooooooooo!!!!!!

In this case, in a world of “acceptable starvation”, a photography crew snaps a few shots of Skeletina, the newest Supermodel from Latvia on some runway in Milan and a million magazines get sold.

What’s wrong with this picture, people? I ask this literally–WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?????

The insanity makes me crazy.

Personally, I like a beefier built guy, but if forced to decide between a hefty guy and John Goodman at his heaviest, I’ll go for the thinner of the two. So, does that me any less guilty?

No.

But I’m making a concerted effort to see beyond beauty being skin deep and fat being deep skin. Maybe it’s because there have been times in my life when I’ve been heavier. I know what it’s like to be looked over, then promptly overlooked. Socially, my weight issues meant the world was fixated on what I was eating…not what was eating me.

Before I die, there are several things I want to accomplish. Chief among them: I want to make a difference with regard to the early detection of breast cancer in socio-economically challenged women AND I want to do something about eating disorders and the psycho-social reasons why they exist.

There’s a mental and emotional bridge that needs to be gapped here. I intend to find it.

I’m sick of this. Sick of all of it.

We push ourselves, deny ourselves, starve ourselves and for what??? Will life in a size 4 body really be that different? How happy can our external world EVER be if our internal one thrives in chaos? Can we ever look that good if we feel that miserable?

Make no mistake: turmoil ALWAYS trickles from the inside out.

But for some for some ridiculously skewed reason, if the outside looks good, harmful internal conflicts be damned.

If we’re thin, that makes it all OK.

.

.

No, that just makes it more dangerous.

And as a weight obsessed society, we’re too fat-headed to grasp it.

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77 comments

  1. “How happy can our external world EVER be if our internal one thrives in chaos?”

    This one sentence sums it up well. I wish you luck and will give you support in your efforts to resolve the insanity.

  2. I’m still not Cosmo worthy…

    Laurie, I think it was the great poet and social critic Sir Mix-A-Lot that spoke truth when he said:

    “Cosmo says you’re fat…well I ain’t down with that…”

    (been a recurring theme today)

  3. Liked this one a lot.

    Charlie Croker’s wife in “A Man if Full” comes to mind. She called those skinny women–like the one her husband ran off with–“young boys with tits”–or something to that effect. If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about; if you don’t like Tom Wolfe, I think you might like this one anyway–because you’re both spot on with respect to what we truly want.

    Of course, we have no clue, but that would never stop us from messing up a marriage just to find out.

  4. “Meet the face, ass and gut of average America.

    It’s rounded. It protrudes. It hangs over waistbands like a bran muffin top.”

    Sing it, Sister! Wonderful piece! :D

  5. What’s gotten into you lately? I’m still reading humor in your stuff, but there’s a depth and underlying seriousness, too. I gotta be honest, I kind of like this “masala”, if you will.

    These are weighty issues I know and you nailed several things that my ex wife has expressed. It’s got to be tougher on women. But if I can help you change mindset, let me know. I’m a guy who likes women with meat on their bones, Kendrick. Curves make a women. Also, your description of the starving African kid and the big cracker? While tragic and spot on, that was also damn funny. I’ve actually wondered why those starving kids were eating Pop Tarts of all things. Laughed my ass off on that one, LK.

  6. Excellent essay here Laurie! We have known two people that looked at themselves in the mirror and saw fat when in reality they were starving themselves to death. This information needs to be discussed more openly. Siggy and you should cover it on his podcasts.

    On a different theme…I liked the comment you made over at Siggy’s about “waiting.” I could not agree with you more. I have known women who were so anxious because they thought they were getting “old” and then settled for some guy only to regret it later. It pays to wait. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do it right or as close to right as possible. ~Viola

  7. You said it, Kendrick.

    But I don’t think it’s men demanding bony women. I think you guys do it to yourself, influenced by the fashionistas of NYNY and Paris.


    I don’t think it’s necessarily men either…not necessarily. We women do it to ourselves mostly. Men don’t always help, but it’s hardly their fault. How can it be? They’re often told what to like anyway and this is often by the same “fashionistas” and purveyors of culture and style and society.

    LK

  8. Amen, I’m so tried of trying to get back down to a size 10! i sure wish men would go thru menopause. And see how it feels, when all sudden you just pack on the weight and can not seem to lose IT! Men should just love us as we are, amen….

  9. Amen, Christine.

    And here’s what you say: To hell with it and you and if you don’t like what you see on me, then fuck you, don’t look at me!!!!!!

    My husband is a big fat sweathog but I love him in spite of his size. Why? Because he loves me the way I am (I married him being a size 5 jr) and after 30+ years of marriage and 4 kids later, I ain’t a size 5 jr no more but he has learned to live with me the way things are and I learned to live with him.

    Looks should be listed in the commandants as no. 11 -“Thou shalt not marry for looks alone”.

    I’m too old to be stick thin. If I were, people would wonder if I had a terminal disease. I am content in my own skin.

    What was it that Beverly said? “Just cover up and go on about your business”.

    Amen.

  10. AMEN EXACTLY!!

    This should be part of every woman’s bible, Laurie. I’m so glad you wrote what you wrote. We’re killing ourselves to be this ridiculous, unattainable ideal. I, too have had a few kids and I will never be a size four again. I’m not sure if I was before I sprouted out chillins? My husband and I have let ourselves go a little. We no longer hold our stomachs in around each other because were too paunchy to hold them in. And sex is better with the light off—for a myriad of reasons, but we still adore each other. I wish the world was a different place when it comes to weight acceptance. I think we’d all be better off. But I gotta tell ya, LK I wish God would never have allowed the invention of butter, soft drinks, milkshakes, bread or Baby Ruth candy bars.

  11. This is some of your best work, Laurie.

    A resounding Brava to you for this one!! The bit about the starving child had me laughing and feeling incredibly guilty at the same time. Truly hilarious. This was a brilliant piece and I hope someday you can do something about breast cancer detection and eradicate eating disorders from the world. If smart writing and humor are the first steps, I nominate you as our leader.

  12. Fanstastic piece! I love your writing and your perspective. It’s so different from most of the blogs out there. I’m bookmarking this blog from now on.

    Glad I found you.

  13. MC, cokes are my downfall. Gotta have them. So dependent on them, at least for the caffeine.

  14. yea, well, I like cokes AND coffee! and anything that has the word bread or roll after it. Maybe it’s just the yeast craving….we all have our vices-we can either starve ourselves and be thin or enjoy life and be a “little” pudgy. What’s it gonna be??????? Did I mention chocolate?

  15. Yes, it isn’t necessarily the men who create this stigma. And for how long has thin as a stick been “in”? I ask because I really don’t know, but it has to be since the development of mass photography in media.

    I love cheeseburgers. More than size 0 jeans.

    That is all.

  16. I, too, lost a bunch of weight in the last couple years. Like, nearly a hundred pounds. The whole time I was losing it, my mantra was “I just want to be average sized.” So then I got to “average size”. And I didn’t want to stop.

    It’s scary, but I feel like I got a tiny glimpse into the mindset of those with eating disorders.

    When I was plus-sized, I didn’t even feel like I was of the same species as the women I saw in magazines and on TV. But when I got down to “average” size, I felt like I was now part of the great “competition”: if I just lost a couple more pounds, maybe I actually could have “her” thighs, or “that girl’s” cheekbones.

    I feel more even now; I eat pretty healthily, but I can still fuck up a pan of lasagna like nobody’s business :)

    Thanks for this piece, Laurie. Wonderful writing!

  17. I just spoke with a man two days ago whose daughter has developed an eating disorder. He told me in confidence. He feels badly, but he is going to respect her desire not to tell anyone – until it gets bad enough that her health is seriously at risk.

    The problem is – when will that be? And, even if he tried to get her help, would she accept it?

    Eating disorders are terribly complicated problems. They break my heart.

  18. Found your blog by accident and I’m glad I did. I thought this was an incredible post. Heartfelt , in your face truth and even the comedic jabs (especially your humor) was worth the price of admission.

  19. Great post, Laurie.

    I have never been terribly overweight but have never been a size 4. Nonetheless, I struggled with self image and self esteem issues my entire life. I had an unhealthy relationship with food, not caring what I put in my mouth. Emotional eating was a biggie too.

    On the other side of things, I have watched my sister go from a size 18 in childhood to a size 6 now. I’m not sure her methods were always healthy and she now has what I consider an obsession with food that is on the other end of where I was … she watches every calorie she eats.

    Just recently, I have finally convinced myself that a jean size is not a goal. I am not out to lose X pounds or to get to a size Y. My goal isn’t to have her thighs or her abs. I will no longer strive to look like Skeletina the model, despite how often they put her picture in front of me and tell me that is what is sexy.

    No, I will eat and exercise to feel healthy. I will embrace my body, every last curve of it. And that’s all. Because life is too short to spend it trying to impress and live to someone else’s standards… if I’m content in my size 12 jeans, that’s all that matters.

    Everything in moderation.


    Good for you, my Canadian sister! You’re attitude is perfection!!

    LK

  20. Good post!

    I wonder what feeds women the desire to be skinny? Is it men or other women?

    Some men find skinny unattractive. Many many years ago men were attracted to women who were meaty, because meaty women symbolized fertility.

    I don’t know when that changed?

    Maybe the use of drugs and high society? How did skinny become a status?

    You have me thinking! Great post!

  21. Absolutely with you on this.

    One, most “supermodels” look like Belsen victims close up and I find that scary, not alluring.

    Two, all the way through this I was screaming “Rubens” until you said it! Yep, he painted big women and they were considered sexy. I am pretty sure one of the the reasons why he painted big women was because women when they reach their 30s and 40s naturally put on weight and ACTUALLY LOOK LIKE THAT. Ie he was painting women as they are rather than how he or society perceived they should be – yep, some of the starved underclasses were thinner but people who ate and lived normally… they looked like that.

    Three: The more “society” obsesses about weight and health, the more I see programmes on TV about morbidly or super-morbidly obese people trying to get back to a healthy lifestyle. Almost without exception they have got to be the size they are because they have been damaged and hurt by others, by bullying, by abuse, by violence… and they have taken refuge in eating.

    Four: it’s all bullshit anyway. Here’s an excellent film made by Dove which shows what happens to EVERY SINGLE photograph you see of the female ideal in women’s magazines. Yeh.

  22. Hey, if you want to see what celebs (models and “movie stars”) really look like on an average day, then peruse a STAR magazine someday when you’re waiting in the checkout line. They look as average or at times worse than I do! Air brushing and photoshop….such a farce.

    Speaking of STAR magazine, are ya’ll as tired as I am at looking at “Brangelina”. I just don’t bother reading that junk anymore, and who cares which political side of the coin they happen to or which candidate they’ve endorsed? Most aren’t worthy of recognition anyway.

  23. Excellent post! I found myself nodding in agreement the whole time. My life has been a struggle with weight. At one point, I wasn’t worried because I was playing rugby and football and being big was a good thing. But, after some lovely injuries, my weight kept going….at one point, I was over 310 lbs!!! But, I blame that on the ex (stress, anxiety, depression, and that was just an average evening with her….). Been on a course to get myself healthy and in shape since our breakup two years ago. I haven’t had a radical transformation, rather just a slow progressive reduction of my protective layer. Down to 265 and only in the last 2 months have I stepped things up and started going to the gym every single day. I know I will never be a small guy but now that I have ramped things up and see a difference that much faster (haven’t lost alot in the last two months but enough for me to fit into some clothes I haven’t worn in about 4 years!!!) I am kicking myself for not going for it sooner. I feel better, blood pressure is under control, don’t feel like I’m going to die when I hike the stairs. It’s a beautiful thing.
    So having this lifelong struggle with my own weight gives me a slightly more sedate approach to weight in the opposite sex and body image: not really bothered. I have dated women of all shapes and sizes. And thinking about it, I tend to go right in the middle: not skinny, not obese, just normal….:) And normal is what I’m striving for myself and I see no reason to impose a ridiculous standard on someone else that I can’t quite get to either.

  24. You’re a good man, Glassowater. I like that way you think.

    I’m one of those women who like chubby guys. I’ve loved a number of bigger guys…thin, scrawny ones too, but I’ve always truly appreciated men who could carry the weight…in a Beatles way and of course, in terms of a little extra body fat.

    We’re virtually killing ourselves and making ourselves miserable by trying to live up to some impossible physical ideal that other’s mandate for us.

    The older I get the more I resent being told the three L’s…how to look, how to love and how to live.

    To that and them, I say “fuck it”.

    LK

  25. I personally don’t find skinny women attractive, and I don’t believe that most men do. If you can see bone, it isn’t feminine. Most men are attracted to women with curves, and who look and feel “soft”.

    The source of glamorization of women who look like little boys is the fashion industry, which doesn’t cater to the tastes of men; it caters to the taste of the women who will be buying the clothes. Men don’t read Cosmo, Glamour, or whatever the magazines are, and they aren’t the ones buying the high fashion clothes. The fashion industry does not accurately reflect what men find attractive, although it might reflect what women *think* men find attractive.

    Women are more judgemental about other women’s weight than most men are, in my opinion.

  26. LOL. You’re absolutely right; and funny too… Nearly everybody has bought this erroneous concept of beauty. I haven’t; and so most people where I’m from also hasn’t. Sadly enough, I think that they’re not going to stop trying to shove that crap down our throats until everybody is a fashionista zombie; or at the very least, anytime soon. Just remember, it’s all in your mind; if you don’t mind, then it should not matter. Besides, real beauty is what you project from the inside, not what some loser who has lost all touch with reality and wants to make you as miserable thinks it is. So finally; I hope you knit my ‘thingies’ someday.

  27. “We push ourselves, deny ourselves, starve ourselves and for what??? Will life in a size 4 body really be that different?…”

    Size 4? Boy this blog made me realize I’m actually pretty skinny. I’m a size 3 usually, sometimes size 2. I actually thought I was very fat compared to many of my friends.

    Once, my friend and I went to the mall to try on clothes. She took a size 2 dress and came out then said it was too small…. I tried on the same dress and the zipper wouldn’t go all the way up. T_T so sad…

  28. Hey,one word … “Bravo” . It was a great essay.I am 24,male and I love meaty women.I am not attracted to thin girls at all.Women with meat on their bones is not only attractive but also a sign of healthy lifestyle.I read it somewhere meaty women are attractive to men because a man wants the children given birth by the women to be healthy.So,he is attracted to a healthy,meaty women who has the strength to give birth to a healthy child.Its the way of nature.Anyways this is how I want my women to be or what i find attractive.

    http://www.indiancinegallery.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/namitha01.jpg

  29. I found this post and most of the attached comments upsetting. Hmmm indeed welcome to average America where the most common cause of death is obesity not starvation. I find that there are more existing blogs condemning those who are thin than those who are grossly overweight. Furthermore I find it sickening (and I am not reffering to this blog) that anyone can encourage a grossly overweight woman to celebrate her ‘curves’ and condemn a grossly underweight woman in the same breath. As for the comment “skinny women are lame” well i happen to be a size zero, i happen to be 5 ft 7 in, and i happen to blame genetics not my distorted body image for my size. I eat like a horse and i have copped comments from every angle about my weight i was teased and called bulimic throughout school and i was told i looked like and unhealthy starving biafrin by my own mother. Yes my ribs poke out so do my hip bones but i am young i have a metabolism and i eat a shitload of food. I think that you are perpetuating the wrong message here fair enough it is a sickening concept that a woman would starve herself to fulfill an expectation of society, but being overweight is just as unhealthy and disturbing. Instead of persecuting thin people try looking at both ends of the spectrum and condemn both… or here is a red hot tip why dont you promote women being comfortable with their bodies regardless of their size. By saying women look disgusting when thin you are simply creating more parametres with which a woman must comply. I dont appreciate the hypocracy of that sentiment. Instead of lableing thin woman “boys with tits” why not try and promote all women as beautiful in their own respect and acknowledge that for some it is impossible to ever be beefy. Sure demote controlled shape but for god sake allow a woman to feel beautiful how she naturally is be that a size 16 or a size 0.

  30. AMEN to Jess!! Please… all this skinny bashing is as bad as fat bashing. I particularly dislike the phrase “real women have curves.” I’m short an thin, I don’t have curvasceous breasts or hips, but I am as much a woman as any volumptuous Rubenesque beauty. Real women have curves, and real women don’t have curves. Everyone is unique. Stop assuming that all thin people must have an eating disorder, and stop assuming all larger people are lazy food addicts… promote instead a healthy body image and an unpredjudiced mindset among young girls.

  31. To the last two people who left comments: did you even reading this post? She’s not bashing thin women and she’s not bashing heavy women. This story is about those that promulgate the negativity. The Madison Avenue ad types; magazine editors and all the others who force feed us this ideal of what women are supposed to look like. But the reality is, women DON’T look like that. Air brushing and retouching are photographic techniques that disingenuously portray women. Unfairly, too. Someone told Cindy Crawford once, they wished they could wake up every morning and look like Cindy Crawford. To that she replied, she ALSO wished she could wake up and look like Cindy Crawford!!

    The author makes salient points here and I think it’s sad that you both didn’t get what she said quite well. As a matter of fact, your comments actually back up what she wrote. You left these rather pointed comments because I’d suppose you’re tired of it too. You’re thin; you’re not voluptuous but perhaps you’d like to be. The author said herself that she’s not thin and would like to be but has stopped allowing herself to feel less a woman for NOT being a painfully thin model. As I see it, the author of this blog story is only saying that she’s tired of being forced to believe in a body ideal that for her has never been reachable.

    You two are a bit harsh in your attempts not to be. You demand that we live in a world where everybody shape is celebrated. That’s pretty damn naive. The author isn’t bashing anyone. But I think that the fact that you two felt as if she was is very telling about where your heads really are. If you want the world to be less judgemental, how about starting with yourselves.

  32. I wish I had that kind of positive attitude… while I don’t think being anorexic is glamorous or something to aspire to, I am guilty of tearing myself to pieces for being chubby. I have been thin and unfortunately, I do think my life was better. I was less obsessed with my stupid weight and a lot happier.
    Too bad we can’t all just be happy the way we are.

  33. I have struggled with body image ever since I was little, starting when I was about 7-8. It got worse in middle school. I went on diets on and off through 8th grade. I hated the way my body looked. Looking back I was never fat. I was never overweight. Now I am a woman. I have hips. I have breasts. I still sometimes look at myself and think “I have really big hips” but I DO NOT. I am not fat. I am not ugly, I do not need to lose weight. I am healthy. I am beautiful and I am not stick thin nor do I need to be. I love my body for what it lefts me do, and I will not abuse it physically by starving myself. I will not torment myself anymore mentally because I do not look half dead (diseased). I am like you said a “REAL WOMAN”. That is the way God intended us to look-curved, figured…Beautiful.

  34. this was so funny smart and interesting, but what does it say that half of our population is overweight? i would like to hear your wit skewer that as well with humor and wit

  35. Well, honestly though, I find myself guilty of the same thing despite knowing better. Frankly, I would never date a guy who was out of shape. I know it’s supposed to be what’s inside that matters, but I can’t really help it if I don’t find fat guys attractive at all. I know everyone says to “give them a chance” but really, I find I don’t want to, as I’d rather give shapely attractive men my attention instead. So there you have it, I’m a shallow twit like everyone else.

  36. First of all, I’d like to say that my best friend in the world, a beautiful, healthy 18 year old girl, is currently trying to starve herself to lose weight. I know the fear and pain of hearing that someone you love hates themself so much. Right now, she isn’t model thin. She’s a British size 8-10: nobody could call her fat, accept herself.

    Although I share the author’s ambition to combat the self-image-hate and insecurity plaguing women today (myself included), I am angered and sickened by the comdemnation of ‘scary-skinny’ ‘too-thin’ ‘fake’ women. A woman is not the size of her breasts or the curve of her hips. A woman is her heart and her soul and her hopes and dreams. I must echo Jess and May. A comment such as ‘Skinny women are lame.’ is narrowminded, offensive, and just plain hurtful.

    What is judgmental about wanting all women to be able to feel beautiful in their bodies. How is it acceptable to set parameters on what is an attractive size and what is not?

    Also, there is the issue of free will. ‘Starving Biafran children’ do not have a choice in the fact that they are starving. The tragedy is that they do not have access to the bare minimum needed to survive. To take away a person’s liberty is a crime against humanity: nobody has the right to control your body but you. If a person chooses to fast, for whatever reason, it is their fundamental right to do so. It is the people who would forcibly stop the fasting, not those fasting themselves, who are committing a crime.
    I’m pained by my friend’s voluntary starvation, not because I am opposed to the act in itself but because of the self-loathing which has pushed her to it. And I think most people forget this. When people think of eating-disorders, they think of the fasting, not of the emotions or psychological mindset behind it, which is the real problem. Force-feed an anorexic all you want, it won’t cure him/her. Starvation isn’t the illness, it’s the visible symptom.

    Finally, what about me? I know on hearing that I don’t verbally-abuse thin people, people will assume that I am one. Oddly enough, I don’t make hurtful and shallow remarks about people, for any reason. I’ve suffered enough of them from school bullies that I couldn’t comprehend EVER wanting to cause another human being that pain. My nickname is slothgirl, because I barely move. I like fantasy books, and try to emulate my heros, the hobbits- 7 square meals a day, plus snacks. I’m not going to tell you how tall I am, or how much I weigh, because that isn’t WHO I am. It’s true, people often compliment me on my tiny waist. It’s true that I would like to look ‘skeletal’. I’m into that kind of thing- Tim Burton characters and supermodels. Why? Because these people are the underdogs, the losers. These are the women who DON’T have a perfectly symmetrical face, who ARE angular, and gangly and, by definition, ugly. Society hates supermodels, because for once it’s the freaks and the wierdos who are being put in the spotlight. Society hates supermodels because they DON’T conform to society’s idea of beauty. They aren’t supposed to represent beauty. They’re just there to show off the clothes on the runway, and to give the most scope for design possibilty- dresses can be longer, so more room for decoration etc. Let’s not forget, for the most part high fashion isn’t about creating average high-street clothes- it’s about art. The models aren’t there to represent the average man or woman; they’re pieces of art.

    Oh, and for Steph, who seems to believe that the author wasn’t hurting anyone: two words- real women (yes- these ARE hurtful). “It is the stuff of which real women are made” (this is just SO offensive I’m amazed that people are atually allowed to use it in everyday conversation, and even advertising campaigns)

    “Our first impression of her would be reflective of societal norms. Initially, we’d probably think that she’s lazy and worthless and from a certain socio-economic level that deems Little Debbie Snack Cakes with green sprinkles to be a vegetable. We would be repulsed at first glance and God forbid we’d stop for a second to think about what physical maladies might be plaguing her; what serious psychological issues are at play here.” (This having being written in 1stP.Pl. just raises my hackles. Constructive criticism- use 3rd person. That way you don’t suggest yourself or your readers in any way shares this opinion. Sorry to be picky, but that’s how it comes across.)

  37. Thank You! There is a huge misconception between fit and thin. I always thought “Curvy” girls were healthier, and definitely more attractive. I think young women and girls are losing weight to compete with each other. Have you ever seen models in a men’s magazine? They are all 20-30 lbs heavier than in Glamor or Vogue. Most men do not think really skinny women are attractive. Here’s anther tip, while guys like girls with boobs, and some guys like girls with BIG boobs, all straight guys like girls with nice, round butts! :)

    I am 6′ 1″, about 245 lbs, and have a big, deep, hairy chest and broad shoulders. My wife is a short, very curvy (slightly plump, but NOT fat) redhead, with a dazzling smile, who complements my build. Our little girl is 4, and will never, ever, be allowed to read fashion magazines, since I won’t allow it in our home. As far as I’m concerned its the same as porn.

  38. Staying thin usually demands a level of discipline and dedication which is sexy when it is applied to any other aspect of life such as life such as career, hobbies, etc. so in essence it also applies here. Thin women are sexy. In no way do I want anyone to take my opinion and straw-man the crap out of it by claiming that I am condoning eating disorders, but many women choose not to exercise which is an integral part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and appearance. So trashing skinny women as unhealthy representations of the female gender is not only hypocrisy it is just dangerous. YOU ARE CONDONING AN UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLE!

  39. You’re entitled to think as you want, but as far the gist of post is concerned and the intent with which it was written .

    I’m not encouraging anyone to eat everything he or she wants, then assume a sloth position by sitting around and letting it compound into layers and layers of adipose. My point is to accept certain limitations. I’m not ever going to be called long, lithe and sinewy—those things are impossible given my God given physique. I’m simply bashing the magazines and the media and celebrities and yes, very often other women and men who by example, make us feel less worthy by worpshipping thin bodies. I am not thin , but far less heavy than I was a year ago. I’d like to be even thinner but it hasn’t been an easy road. I would imagine that the bulk people out there would agree.

    Go back and re-read this, Beau…I’ve simply stopped allowing myself to feel less a woman for NOT being painfully model thin. I don’t have the body type nor the metabolism and I’ve got to change my perspective of weight. I have never liked it when I was heavier, but I sure as hell hate it when the emphasis has to be on thin women and thin women only. I’m simply tired of being force fed an ideal ( regardless of who’s doing the feeding) with it) that for me has never been obtainable.

    LK

  40. My sister has no hobby, is extracting money from government, men and all around who let her including parents. She is super thin.

    Cannot cook, clean nothing she is “ill” or in the process of geting ill most of the time. She is expert at getting attention and all kind of resources from others without ever giving someting back. Because she is just pure little think you know super thin girl who is ill all the time.

    But if she could she would be super star, miss world……..
    But you know she is ill. And this way are most of thin women I know personaly.

    They are so special because they are thin. Thinness = narcisstic personality disorder usually.

  41. Just throwing my two pennies out here, I find it odd that humanity has focused on our worst sense. Sight is by far pathetic when compared to any other sense. What I look for in women are two things, her laugh and her heart.

    Sadly enough, I have friends that suffer from anorexia and so far the best solution I have is keep them laughing and enjoying themselves. It worked but I’ll be damned if its not the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Trying to get jokes rolling and an entertaining atomsphere up was like pulling my own teeth.

    That aside, there’s my two pennies, spend it on something good. ;)

  42. that was pretty much what the world needs to hear. more importantly, me!
    i am a male, and i suffered fromt his terrible need to be thin! i got to the point where i would purge myself after eating some sugar free jello. i hated myself more as i got thinner. i only talked of weight food and excersise!
    well i have been recovering for some time now, and with it have gained some weight(going from nothing to something). i have been trying to lose it again, but nothing seems to work cause of my screwed up metabolism! i just wanted to let you know that i appreciate what you wrote. it made me realize that LIFE is beautiful, wether 10 pounds heavier or not! i have a GREAT life, and i need to focus on that! thank you for refocusing my priorities!

  43. hey umm i love skinny chicks!! like asian =) sorry, but i do. im 6’1″ and weigh 65kg male. so i like girls who r skinnier then me… that girl in the red is 1 of the sexist girls iv’e seen… sorry but that’s how i c it. but i also get were ur come’n from, i wanna b big. like all males in movies. but the fact is im small 4 a male, in the movies. just like ur big 4 a girl in the movies, if u get what i mean… just like u like ur cheek bones, i love a girl with a straight flat tummy with there hip bones stick’n out… sad but true.

  44. That pushing women and girls to be overly thin is clearly wrong. To say that this makes being unhealthily fat and unatractive ok is equally wrong. America is stuffed with waddling human whales and no amount of blaming the equally faulted vision of magazines will change the fact that a huge proportion of Americans are fat slobs.

  45. IF you feel unconfortable under your skin, do not blame men. We do not by Cosmo for you and some of us are not from New York City.

    Personally, I am attracted to women who would make good mothers. They are healthy, have hips wide enough to bear children, and breasts large enough to feed them.

  46. Be happy with what you have. If its a problem then get help but dont let magazines and main stream media influence you mind.
    Imperfection is Beautifull.

  47. Too right. Well done. Whatever happened to the natural beauty of the pale, rounded, pre-Raphaelite women?

  48. I think everything changed after World War II. When fashion for everyone came out of France in the 1950s, they were still skinny from the war. A hank of hair and a rack of bones became the fashion. They look like Death Camp survivors. I would rather see clothes on a hanger.

    I do not care about women having pale skin. I think it is good to have healthy skin. However, I am not a woman. Women care more about what other women think than what men find attractive. Our brains are actually preprogrammed to look for the most healthy woman.

  49. There’s much to be commented about this. First of all, not trying to apply social darwinism to anything, but… In the past to be skinny was a sign of poverty. Round women were adored like venus, and it was because It was very hard to get the minimum necessary to get you healthy, then, of course, the excess became an fetish. The same you can see nowadays in the inverse sense. It’s relatively easy (excluding the very sub developed country) to get, not healthy, but carbonate-rich foods. And in some way, it’s cheaper to eat bad, than to care about what you eat nowadays. Organic food, healthy food, is much more expensive than ordinary fatty, oily food. And so, just like in the past, the excesse became an fetish, and then this praise to the bones. Another point I’d like to express about it is a relationship with pedophilia.
    Well, I’m a skinny girl, I’ve always been one, and since I’m from Brazil, it always have been a problem to me. Here, despite all the advent of fashion, skinny models, and all It’s still a national preference among men, the meaty hourglass figure.
    I’m not extremely skinny, and also, not extremely tall, I’m like 5.7″ and 114 Lbs.
    But here, it’s seen as extremely skinny I guess.
    I’ve tried desperately to gain some weight in my adolescence but was useless. Last year, due to some stress medication, I gained 10 lbs in 2 months of medication. It was terrible, the fat didn’t distributed well along all my body, only
    in my waist and butt. Then I saw that I couldn’t go against my physical type.
    Here, and I say it by experience, skinny girls tend to attract only perverted men, pedophiles or insecure menand to be worst, brazzilian men preferences are meaty hourglass tanned brunet woman, and I’m fair white. It’s not that nice, and sometimes I think if I’d not be happier living in europe.

  50. I think women who are blind to their own beauty are tragic, somehow, but women who are aware of it differ depending on body size.
    A thin woman who knows she’s beautiful often is less beautiful because of that knowledge; she may worry that her beauty is tied to her thinness.
    A fat woman who knows she’s beautiful is usually made even more so by the knowing; she knows she’s beautiful and that she’ll stay beautiful no matter her size.
    There’s something amazingly sensual about a fat woman who realizes her own beauty, whereas, “boys with tits” who think they’re god’s gift to men really aren’t sensual, just somehow sexual if anything.
    I only wish all women could see themselves as the beauteous creatures they are instead of wishing they had a “better nose” or bigger boobs or a smaller waist.
    You Rock, Laurie, and i suspect you always will.

  51. I am a man, now 70yo. I have always preferred plump women. I don’t like gross fat, but 10-15% overweight is sexy, and more appreciative.

    Also, women, on average are half over smarter than men, but men won’t admit it because women are inferior, like in Muslim society.

  52. This pressure comes from homosexual men and women in the fashion industry. Women do not look like runway models in Playboy. Women with the .7 waist to hip ratio are at the pinnacle of health which is what you will find heterosexual men find attractive. That has not changed at all. What has changed is the market demand for what women find attractive. Women and homosexual men like boyishness even in their fashion models.

  53. it is a heart breaking fact that people, women in particular, are made to feel that their self worth is dependent upon adherence to an unrealistic and even unhealthy ideal body shape/size. i’m glad to see there are others who are up in arms at this – i think everyone else has been too busy worrying about who wore what at the oscars… and that is just what the media wants to do, distract.

  54. I absolutely loved reading this article it is very true and easy to relate to. I’m a 19 year old female and a size 14 and hate everything about the way my body looks. But this article has really put some things into perspective for me so thankyou for that.

    Keep doing what your doing Laurie and hopefully one day you’ll be able to make a difference on how people view themselves.

  55. I really enjoyed this article.
    You write very well!
    I hope you achieve your dreams, for the sake of many.

    xx

  56. That was very touching. I too live day after day feeling like society looks down on me for being a big girl. The people of the US are disturbed and far from the truth. When will they all wake up? If they don’t die of starvation first.

  57. I think that’s a very narrow view, though. Despite the fact that American entertainment is based around thinness, or fitness if you really look at it; the idea of being bone thin has long been considered “out”. People brag about being the average American weight when really compared to the rest of the world it’s unhealthy. We, as a whole, are “averaged sized” to American standards because of the food we ingest and the behavior we’ve learned. America isn’t healthy in size, based on medical data, not Hollywood hear-say. I’m not saying it’s takes becoming bone thin, because most people view it as disgusting. I’m saying that knocking people who are thinner, or who enjoy being physically fit is skewed and wrong.

    And you talk about men not looking twice at “average women” because they idolize fit Hollywood. And it’s true, most of Hollywood is FIT, not overly thin. However the men who are interested in only those kinds of women because of their appearance not being “up to standards” as they would see it aren’t worth the dirt they stand on. Because those men are pathetic pigs. And there’s a whole world of real men who appreciate a real woman, curvy and all… but can also appreciate a woman who is interested in bettering her physique.

    Women 600 years ago who were rounder and thicker were idolized because weight represented wealth, and curvy women represented child bearing women… If a woman takes pride in her body now a days it’s considered an act of desperation to become Hollywood? Yes there are women who feel the need to be thinner because they feel socially inept, but many of them now a days are embracing a healthier lifestyle and as a result toning and shaping their body (which involves losing fat) and loving themselves for it… and it’s not because they’re magazine worthy or because men like them more.

    If you’re so obsessed with eating less and hurting yourself to lose weight and then blaming it on the pressure of the world around you then perhaps you need to understand yourself better because those that do these things for themselves are happy and take pride in it, and are proud to say they aren’t the average because, let’s face it the average person in America doesn’t live a healthy lifestyle. and it was never because they felt the pressure from these outside ideals. Losing weight to be healthy is not for everyone. But I think when you try to accuse those that are doing these things because of the image the world is forcing on them then you haven’t gotten the whole picture yet.

  58. If women could only understand that a real man thinks outside the stereotype box, having dated women size 8 to 28 and have found something special in all of them.
    I call on allwomen out there to feel good about who they are now, not what they think a group ‘pole up the ass’ glossy magazine editors think they should be.

  59. THANKS TO WHITE SUPERIORITY ITS NOT SUPERIOR TO BE FAT,POOR, ,OLD , UGLYOR OF ANOTHER RACE ….TO BE WHITE AND BEAUTIFUL IS TO BE THIN..NOTHING MOR NOTHING LESS..

  60. Thank you. I have struggled with an eating disorder, and your post has opened my eyes. You sound like a wonderful person, and I really appriciate hearing that someone isn’t conserned with body image for once. :)

  61. I responded to another posting, similar to this, on Google+ the other day. My response was simple, I can’t call her Squishy Bunny, if there is nothing to squish. Sweetie was NOT a size 0 30 years ago when I met her, and she is NOT a size 0 today. If I had wanted to marry a wire hanger, I would have, but I wanted a WOMAN who was healthy and cuddly. She’s been by my side for more than 30 years now, just as cuddly as ever.

    The ladies that are muses for my stories are also not size 0 ladies. They are healthy, strong women, some with legs that look like they could kick through a brick wall. They all share though the most important trait, and that is what I see ABOVE their necks. I’ve seen the Barbie body, but she had dead, emotionless eyes, she did nothing for me. I’ve had other men point hot the “hot bod over there”, and her gaze was like looking at a stone, not even worth a second glance. Maybe evolution opened my eyes, but what shape you are, means nothing with out life and emotions to back it up. Some of the most beautiful, happy, exciting women I’ve met, could probably bench press a small car, and love themselves some prime rib and lobster. They know how to live, and it shows in their expression.

    Beauty is far more than skin deep. There should be zero 0’s in this world. And any man that judges a woman by what he finds below her neck, needs to get is fucking knuckles off the ground.

  62. A woman should have round curves – no protruding bones. A full bottom and legs are necessary parts – as originally designed to be a woman. There are few things I can think as off putting as lying in bed with a woman whose body bones poke me. There are few things as memorable as hugging a woman from behind and feeling her ample butt in my lap, my arms wrapped around her narrow waist, and burying my face in a unkempt wad of hair. A woman’s aide should dent considerably at the waist, falre at the hips, and gently tapper towards her feet. Her legs should mirror the shape of her torso. No skinny for me.

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