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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


Anorexic is the new curvy

I got an email today from daily candy in which they extolled the virtues of a line of clothes. I got kind of excited because of how it was described:

She’s Got Smarts
Curvy girls: Shake what yo mamma gave you — especially when wearing shorty shorts and bubble skirts from Smart Fitzjerell. The debut collection (seen first on DailyCandy) also offers smart, ladylike day dresses that you can work well into the night. Preppy meets edgy while you save 40%.

Doesn't it make it seem like like it would be a great line? Preppy meets edgy, showing of curves? Perfect. The picture didn't really entice me as I really am not fond of any of those outfits - but my enthusiasm was not to be dampened.

I perused the site, and found this dress:

So cute, right? The damned thing only comes in sizes 4, 6, and 8. What is curvy about that? Plus, it says that it runs small, so you should order a size up. So it basically only comes in sizes 2-6. I have a friend who is my height and wears a size 6, and she is really quite thin (although she wears spanx because she thinks she is fat).

So size 6 is curvy? That's nuts.

I was reading the site whowhatweardaily today (don't ask, I don't know why), and they had a post on Lilly Allen's attire. When I saw it, I thought it looked like she had lost some weight. I don't exactly keep track of her, but she is always being called "curvy" or pudgy or something - and in the picture below, she looks pretty thin to me and fairly muscular.

Compare that to an earlier montage they did of her:

She looks fine to me in all of these ... but commenters called her too fat to wear the dress in the first picture. WTF???

I read an article recently (no idea where) in which people were complaining that others were concerned about their weight being too low. Some expert chimed in and said that it was likely that people were so used to seeing overweight people that we now see normal weight people and think they are "too thin" verging on anorexic. I'd like to see some data on that, because I call foul. I think we know what is thin and what is too thin...although I think our obsession with it and our sad valuing of "too thin" are unhealthy. Even as young women may denigrate Nicole Richie or the Olsen twins for being too thin, they often aspire to look like them.

I think our ideas about weight and shape are just messed up in some crazy ways, and that this has deleterious effects on how we eat and how we deny ourselves.

An example of this is the airbrushing of Faith Hill's cover at Redbook. As the authors of the post note, before airbrushing, she looks normal, accessible, and is thin but still imperfect. Afterwards, she looks completely untouchable - and has a look that can only make us feel bad in comparison. Click the link to the numerical analysis to see what they did.

I think that the meta-message is that we, as women, are never okay - no matter what we look like. We could look like Faith Hill, and still not be okay. No matter our weight, we will always be too thin or too fat.

And as long as we believe this, we will always have so much internalized hatred of our femaleness that we will never upturn the status quo. It's always at this point that I start to think this isn't coincidental (feel free to call me paranoid) - that there is some purposefulness (intentionality) behind this. I mean, honestly, doesn't it seem as though it is a pretty effective means of social control - make women hate themselves and each other and so obsess with weight and appearance, and we'll never realize that the problem isn't what we look like - it's something much more insidious. And maybe that's why we buy into this too - it is much easier to worry about our weight - much more controllable (despite how uncontrollable it may seem) than to start thinking about sexism, patriarchal systems, and oppression.


At 8:03 PM, Blogger Seeking Solace said...

Size 6 is curvy, are you kiding me???

Good grief!!!

I love the yellow dress, though.

At 5:06 AM, Blogger StyleyGeek said...

Hear hear! To all of that.

And the four women in the first photo don't look what I'd call "curvy". Especially the one on the left. She's skinny!

I refuse to believe that I am seeing chubby people as thin because of some sort of "overexposure" to fatness.


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