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January 12, 2010

Fat is the New Black

By Sarah

You know Hard Times are still upon us when you open the New York Times recently and see this:

 These are the models from a special issue - it's always a "special issue" - of V, the "Size" issue featuring - are you ready ladies? - so called "plus size models" wearing size 12 and even 14. Quel scandal?

For most women, the only scandal would be labeling size 12 as "plus," when, as any rack in Macy's proves, Twig  it is the most common size worn. It's not our mothers' size 12, however, because that's when sizes were honest. In our mothers' day, a size 12 was narrower by a long shot, maybe a size 6 today. But back then, in the 1950s and '60s, thin women (think Twiggy) were in because in the 1950s and '60s, as with the late '90s, this country was in a boom.

Hard times ain't a comin'. They're a here. Because in lean times, men love fat women.

Is this true? According to an article last week in Psychology Today, yes and no. Now anyone who's taken a Sociology 101 course is aware that in cultures where resources are scarce, fat women are valued. The odds are in a fat woman's favor to carry a fetus to term and nurture it after it's born. The question has been whether this phenomenon translates to financial hard times. Here. In the land of Sex and the Skinny City.

What researchers found was that ...the study sucks. There, I said it. In some cultures, yes, hard financial times lead to a craving for higher BMI. But when they redid the study by showing men photos of all sorts of women, men still went for the 20 to 21 BMI ratio. Which goes to show you, men who volunteer for psychological studies are idiots.

Frankly, I'm more interested in this V "Size" section and also what Karl Lagerfeld supposedly once said,Karl   that, "no one wants to see curvy women." 

Here's a picture of Karl Lagerfeld. Now you know why curvy women don't want to see him.

My question, and my fantasy, is that women such as those above would be normal everyday models, not just "plus size" for special issues and that they'd wear something a bit more flattering than asymmetrical sweaters that come down to their crotches or leopard-print body suits and high heels.

I have had two relatives, sweet innocent girls, now women, battle bulimia and anorexia each and, from what I understand, that's not a war that's ever completely won. As far as I can tell, all men thirty and younger are under the impression that women are a)hairless b)bleached in places where one would never, ever apply Clorox and c) size 0s. 

These disconnects, between men yearning for skinny women and skinny women starving themselves to death, does not, I fear, bode well for the human race. Neither does the other end of the equation, the huge numbers of morbidly obese people in both genders.

So wouldn't it make sense to strike a "healthy" medium by featuring so-called plus size women 70% of the time? After all, considering the camera adds ten pounds, I doubt the average person would classify the size 12 women featured above as "fat." I bet they'd look, you know, normal. I mean, outside of South Beach.

Barring that, it'd be really fun to get all the fatties together and gang up on Karl. Now THAT would be a photo shoot.



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I appreciate the work of all people who share information with others.

Speaking personally, and I mean only for myself, I've gotten extremely weary of "Them" telling me what is good or bad, what is sexy or not sexy, what is right or what is wrong. Everyone is different, with different tastes, and this quote "No one wants to see curvy women" is SOOOOO far off the line it's even worth acknowledging....

My daughter is not a stick figure. I've watched for years as she looks at clothes supposedly for girls her age, and she's not able to fit into them. It was very hard on her for a while. I hate that in today's environment, girls are basically raised on images of "beauty" that a fraction of the population can attain. Thankfully, she has friends who are beautiful, smart, and fun, and none of them are a size six.

My daughter is currently dieting just so she can try on bridal gowns. You should see the choices.--Tightly fitted to your knees, and then flaring out so you couldn't walk if you tried.

For this alone, I will volunteer to sit on Mr. Lagerfeld.

The whole size and body image issue is sooooooooo huge! I count my blessings that my daughter, who is built like a field hockey player and was chubby in high school, absorbed the culture of our martial arts school and valued her physical strength and abilities (you should see the girl kick!) more than she worried about conforming to current standards of "beauty."

Me, I stopped even looking at the Title 9 catalog - theoretically providing clothing for active women - when one of the items I wanted to buy was sized such that the XL (the largest size they carried) was a 12. I wrote them a scathing e-mail as well, but never got a reply :)

Now I just work hard to maintain an appropriate body weight and composition for my own personal health and so I can continue to practice martial arts the way I want to.

Oh - and if anyone really cares, studies show that it's better to be overweight and fit in other ways (especially cardiovascular fitness) than to be thin and unfit. Those models wouldn't last an eyeblink in the real world . . .

I guess my question is why did V put these women in such ridiculous outfits. I mean, come on .....try!

A study out this month from the American Diabetes Association says that 60% of adults in this country are either overweight or obese. And yet we worship size 2? Why the disconnect?

My nephew's wife-to-be, who is in fact a size 2, insisted on wearing whatever Victoria's Secret thinks is the modern version of a corset under her wedding gown. Don't ask me why.

We have serious issues about body image in this country.

Somebody must like curvy women, there are plenty of websites devoted to big boobs.

Seriously, With daughters who are taking after their father and being built like bears (very cute bears), I see this battle in my own house every day.

A link for the day. It is a little old, but still good. It makes the princesses go wow.

Dove Evolution: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

As we say 'round these parts, Karl is a jagoff.

Not that I care, but does Karl like any kind of women? Because if he leaves the house dressed like that most of the time, he's not only missing a mirror, he's missing a partner with decent eye sight.

Before I was fat, I had curves. Certainly too many for a stud like Karl. Believe me when I tell you that most men liked them enough to want more than a look.... just sayin'.

Never ever in my life have I been thin...but I am healthy (not counting arthritis), which to me is more important. Of course, I'm at the point in my life where I live in jeans and sweatpants unless:
a) I'm at the store
b) There's a special event
I just wonder who sets the sizes in this country? XL is NOT a 12...and selling that idea to teens and younger girls is tatamount to saying "you're fat". I can't just pull a blouse or pair of slacks off the rack these days and buy it without trying it on. M=S, L=M, XL=XS! As for MR. Lagerfeld...count me in on the confrontation. The sight of that much womanly beauty would definitely bowl him over!

Trying to guide a pre-teen and a just barely teen girls in this Appearance oriented culture TOTALLY SUCKS.

My pre-teen daughter totally fits the seemingly preferred image and bugs me to shop for her clothes at the kiddie version of Forever 21. My just barely Teen daughter does not fit the preferred image. In the teen stores, she can't always even wear the XL size because it is cut to fit a 7 year old boy!

OMG I HATE shopping for them or with them, because someone is always crying. And, they are both just right for them. The little one is little because she's framed that way. The not little one is, according to growth charts, expected to be at least 5'8" tall and is at the thicker before taller growth phase.

(Can I just throw out that one is good at school, and the other -not so much. Guess how that plays out with them. Yep - in the worst possible way!)

I try to never talk about diets or weight, but instead focus on healthy. But, it doesn't always work. I'm scared to death of the eating disorders and teen depression and the ton of other issues that slam girls today.

Sorry - but Sarah did bring up the topic. Thanks for listening to this worried mom. (I appreciate having a place to dump the things I fear and don't have a place to discuss!)

(BTW - I'm a usually a 12 and sometimes a 10 when I find just the right cut. I'm very pleased to be in the middle. Usually, I can find more flattering stuff than what they put on these ladies.)

Marcia, whoever designs clothes for this age group of girls should be hung up by their thumbs and horsewhipped. I remember it well.

I also remember a solution - second hand stores and a "funky" approach. Most of Anna's friends took this route. Shopping became a creative (and more affordable) outlet, they didn't have to wear the Daddy's Little Princess T-shirts prevalent at the time and they got to create their own "style" that defied weight, look, anything.

Treat them to a cute highlight - a strip of pink or purple in their hair washes out after 30 days and can define them more. Shows that they think of themselves as fun. And they're not going on any job interviews, so who cares.

Anyway, that's how we dealt with it. Now Anna's 18 and dresses like either a slob in jeans or sweats or skimpy dresses and heels. Glad she's buying this stuff, not me.

When I propose to my second daughter (almost 5 yo)something more to eat and she doesn’t want, she says: “Oh no, otherwise I will be fat”. I don’t think she does really mean that but she must hear such a thing very often in an everyday life. So the brainwashing starts earlier and earlier.

This one really, really hits home. I've struggled with weight all my life and have been bound and determined that my daughters don't get caught up in the numbers game.

My 20 yo is petite (5 ft on her tippy toes) but curvy and hides herself in t-shirts and boy jeans. When she does wear clothes that are more feminine in nature, she looks great. She has been blessed in the bosom dept and since boys her age are pigs, she doesn't like that sort of attention.

My 14 yo is 5'3 and went from the Girls+ sizes to the trendy stores in one summer. She figured out quite quickly that the funky route is the way to go -- Mom is much more willing to spend $25 on five or six gently used items, than on one brand name flimsy scrap of fabric that won't hold up for even a season. (There is one national chain store that treated a young autistic girl in my state so poorly that the parents went to court and WON -- I won't go there and once I explained to my daughter and her BFF what they did, they are boycotting it too.)

I have always told my girls that size and weight are just numbers and you are not defined by a number. The younger one is also a dancer and I keep telling her that she needs strong legs to hold her up and that muscle weighs more than fat.

Sometimes I feel like I am a broken record with this, but we haven't had any issues, so I must be doing something right.

As for the "sit upon" on Lagerfeld, you can definitely add me to the list.

Soooo....I like the gypsy look myself. Well...because I am a gypsy. The more colorful and flowing the better and most of it is second hand.
I hope all you moms out there are setting an example to your girly girls to be themselves. If you only buy designer and "trendy" stuff they will too. AND what is hot at school will always influence them.
I mean when I went to school you couldn't even wear culottes!
I also buy the biggest size something comes in when I do order from a catalogue. The same price for a medium and a 1X? I get the 1X and cut it down therefore ending up with a matching scarf or a camisole.
So let them be who they will be. Even Ugly Betty wears her own thing!
Just saying.
If I sat on Karl you'd never see him again! Put me on top!

Oh, Karl. What world do you live in? I bet it's a few square blocks in New York, Paris, Rome, maybe a flat in London and a few country houses where you don't interact with your staff.

In your next life, may you come back a woman.

I live in Wisconsin. We eat cheese and sausage and frozen custard and wash it down with beer and brandy.

What's a size 6? Never heard of that.

BTW, Karl Lagerfeld used to be rather rotund himself. Jerk.

I was also vertically challenged and bosomy. After my 30th birthday, I had friends notice my pretty eyes. *sigh*

So, having been curvy + for most of my life, I can say that it doesn't matter as long as you are healthy. I just had another guy ask me out...bringing my current totaly to four guys interested. :)

Go Debby.

Thanks Sarah. The only second hadn store I've tried is Goodwill. Maybe I'll try some of the others locally. 12/13 and 1st year of Middle School is YUCK!

I'll see what they think about the hair, or maybe nails or accessories. They both like Claire's and all the bags and scarves and stuff. Hmm - thinking.

Xena - I'm working on my example. I eat what I want, we have desserts, we walk the track at the playground, and they see me buy my share of clothes at Discount stores and Goodwill. But, I also have my business clothes and shoes/boots/bags that come from the mall. But, on the clearance racks only and mostly at JCPenneys.

Does that count?

I read a snippet about a new show starting about Big Bosses that work anonymously among their lowly employees. I think all these designers and buyers and such should have to work the sales floors of the Real People stores and help customers until they find stuff that works for them!

Ok, first off, why are male fashion designers always dressed like they're competing for goofy git of the month?

Secondly, there are a hell of a lot more of us fatties, male & female, than there are skinny ass models and pinhead male fashion designers. Why have we not put a smackdown on them?

If I had daughters, I would tell them to dress comfortably and look nice and not worry about what "fashion" dictates. Of course, they'd have my wife as a perfect example of that, because it'll be a harmonious day in the Senate before she wears skinny minnie clothes, high heels or even a bra.

And finally, from the purely male pig perspective, who in their right mind wants to have sex with some skinny, boobless chick who looks more like a young boy than a woman? Hell no! Give me a well cushioned hottie any day.

Xena, you are too much. HIlarious. And shows you're incredibly talented.

The weight thing is--a constant struggle. TV adds ten pounds. It really does. SO I'm dealing with real weight and IMAGINARY weight.

And mothers of daughters--you know the song from The Fantastiks--Plant a Carrot? I really think what you say sinks in. Maybe not quickly! But they're listening.

(I can't resist telling you--this is part of the theme of my book FACE TIME. It's a mother-daughter book. I'm just sayin'...)

Harley, very funny. Yes. I'm sure he would plotz if he had to so much as pick up his own tissues.

I like the sound of Wisconsin.

Apparently, there's a Karl Lagerfeld diet he used to drop 92 lbs. Who knew? I love how SLATE calls him a "courtier." Good writing.


I'm thinking that looking good is a nebulous mission in life. Apparently, if I chose to recreate the image of the skinny one I will fail. If I shop for the items that make me feel good I might win. Despite all the influences of fashion, makeup, etc. I always try to put a brake on the shopping and pursue hobbies such as the piano, knitting, reading and other pursuits. I need balance in my life or I go crazy.

I don't know a single guy who has ever said that he preferred skinny women. All the men I know, and god love them, love a woman with curves. Which is good - because mine aren't going anywhere!

Y'all gotta read that Slate article I posted....Hilarious.

Man, I love that kind of writing. A "dandy." Yes, that's what Karl is exactly.

I've hollered about this before, and while I despise repeating myself, this one just calls for it:

Whoever "Karl" is (and I have no real grasp of who he is or what his place is in the world), for him to think women like Diana Rigg or Honor Blackman or Jane Seymour would be considered 'fat' by today's standards kind of blows my mind. Ursula Andress would be 'chubby', Barbara Eden would be 'overweight'.

We won't even discuss Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, or Myrna Loy, all of whom left NO doubt one was dealing with a Woman.

But you have to wonder who 'sets the standard' on this stuff. I'll stick with my own tastes on the subject, Karl, but thanks for checking in....

Welcome to MoebiusWorld, where it's all surface and no inside.

Here's the power of media and advertising.

We take our cues about who we are (and what we're worth) from people who get power and money by telling us Who We Have To Be To Get Love.

Back when I was a talent agent, we represented a young lady who was Lagerfeld's muse for one season. To be fair, he wasn't the only bad influence on her. But he admitted later he was partly responsible for her metamorphosis into a monster. Monster indeed; she'd scare Unthinkable Cthulhu right back into the Pit.

And that's what people get when they buy (and buy and buy and buy) into that alternate reality: a sickened fantasy.

Hank, I'm sorry. Your work is much harder than people realize, and there's much more too it than people realize.

Please allow me to take a minute to say that I LOVE the men of this blog!

Hear, hear.

Kelly Boyce wrote: "I don't know a single guy who has ever said that he preferred skinny women."
I think it depends sometimes on the country, for exemple in France it's a big issue to be maybe not really skinny but very very svelte. Though things change a bit, the young generation will weight more than their mothers (because of the fast food that's not really good either).

Sarah, just read the piece from Slate and have only this to say: Good Lord!!!

All of you have made me think a bit about this--I never had a chance at looking 'hot'--a little too tall for the petite look, not near enough curves for the sexy look, but I grew up with the understanding that I was, thankfully, reasonably 'balanced'--had arms, legs, torso and head that went together well, and a face and hair that would never be 'beautiful' but might on a good day qualify as reasonably attractive. For that, I always felt that I looked 'fine.' Thank goodness I wasn't allowed to develop the notion that because I wasn't what society called beautiful, I was therefore ugly.
The past few years, as I struggled with a cortisol-induced belly that was sudden and horrifying (through thick and thin, I usually could at least count a proportional middle as an asset), I was depressed time and again to find that none of the sizes I'd previously been able to count on were anywhere near a fit, and I did, sadly, begin to feel hugely unattractive. The past couple of weeks, as I've gone through my wardrobe old and new, and now read today's blog (thanks, Sarah!), I realize that some of my depression could be blamed on the shell game of contemporary size-assigning, so even as the belly inches gradually come off again, I need to do detective work to find the right fit, past size categories be hanged. Whoever said the TLC men are wonderful, I strongly second the vote!

Holy CRAP, Tom! I don't know who you are referring to, but I do know what it would take to scare Cthulhu back into the Pit, and man, that's GOT to be bad....

Am unfamiliar with said Cthulhu or Pit.

William, I have hopes that someday the Flying Spaghetti Monster will wrap her in the Alfredo'ed Embrace Of Loving Kindness by extending The Divine Noodley Goodness a little farther than anyone ever thought possible . . .

Howard Phillips (H.P.) Lovecraft, Sarah. Scary, scary stuff from the 1930's. Highly recommended, but not for the faint of heart....

I find it reassuring that one of the most iconic movie scenes of all time is when Marilyn Monroe in the Seven Year Itch stands over the sidewalk grill and her skirt flies up. She was the combination of curvy, sweet and not so innocent and played it to the hilt.

I've got Lovecraft in my bookshelf. As soon as this ms is done, I'll go for it - that and 10,000 other books I'm dying to read.

I think the reason Karl Lagerfeld is so bitchy is this: he's hungry. Maybe we should just tie down and force feed him.

Hungry for sauteed quail leg.

He looks like he really needs the whole quail.....with a bit of butter and cream.

SARAH, DO NOT READ LOVECRAFT!!! Gibbering madness awaits!

And you won't be able to see Poppy and the gang from under the bed.

Arriving late to the party after being away from my computer since Sunday noon.

Karl Lagerfeld, dear TLCers, is G-A-Y. He doesn't like ANY women, but if he must see them, they should be as similar to young men as possible. Ergo, skinny, long-legged, and flat.

Also, did you know why models are so tall and skinny, and why they put them in sky high shoes? It's because the human form is normally seven heads high--or the height of your head, times seven. But clothes look more appealing to us, somehow, if the model wearing them has the "ideal" eight heads of height, which those six-foot tall (and taller) women appear to be. Adding those freakishly high heels to the mix makes this absurdly stretched out human form closer to nine heads high.

In other words, an impossible to attain feat. And that makes KL and his counterparts in the couture a bunch of jerkwads.

Karen, missed you. On a newscast last evening is was declared that having fat thighs was healthy because some properties oozed out of these cells in this area to promote wellness. Praise the Lord and pass thd ammunition. I've been waiting for this revelation all my life. I just need to push down the fat from my middle(very bad properties in this area) and push it down to my thighs. Good luck with that.

Wow, Marie, that's great news for me. I've had "juicy" thighs all my life, including when I was stick thin everywhere else.

Might as well get something out of it, eh?

PS If anyone else wants to join, six of us from TLC are in a Diet Challenge, and we have a private Facebook group/email chain to help support our diet, exercise and healthy eating efforts.

Let us know if you want to be a part of it.

Marie, you mean thunder thighs are healthy??? Yippee!! I'm healthy finally. Even when I looked like KL (thin as a rail) I still had thunder thighs. I'm so happy. I'm doing Snoopy's happy dance. That counts as exercise, right, Karen?

Happy dance DOES count!

Karen, OH...

Today has been one of those days where my filter has just disappeared. I was going to say the same thing you did, but way more (man I hate "Some"timers) unPC.

During the third season of Project Runway one challenge was to design for the everyday woman. They brought out family members of the designers and they had to create for another castmember's family. Most of the women were like me...overweight, thick around the middle and had, God forbid, medium to large sized breasts. Only two out of the 6 or 7 designers left designed anything attractive and proportionate to their model's body. 2!!!

And while we're at it...I'm tired of "fat lady" prints. Makes me look like a circus tent.

Hi, my name is Laura and I'm a size 14

(Hi Laura)

Yes, preoccupied with my weight. Always have been. But that's not what I wanted to talk about.

It's Karl...he's always in the German tabloids and I don't want to defend him, but he's the one plugging the band 'The Gossip' and their singer Beth (check them out on YouTube, they're American)and today he was in 'Bild' (our Tabloid) with pictures of Miss Dirty Martini (check out bild.de)

This little block is too small for me to start discussing my relationship with my weight.

I am very fortunate to be married to one of those men that Kelly describes above, that loves curves. MY curves, thank you very much. If I get below a size 12, he insists I'm too thin. I'm not sure I agree with him, but I'm sure not going to complain!

Btw the Blone girl on the right, is on America's next top model.Just saying...

Sorry blonde*

Cool! Author the best! Thank you!

at the age of 15, i was nearly 16 stone with never having a boyfriend, never being complimented and all my friends in english size 10's and 8's where i was in english sizes 18-20, after being ignored by guys and being very unpopular, i decided to loose weight, in 30 weeks i lost 2 and a half stone and i am now fitting into my prom dress at a size 12! everyday, someone comes up to me and tells me how amazing i look, or how pretty, or young and beautiful i am, im still curvy, and now guys talk to me, in england, guys appreciate the curve, but most of all, they care that im a nice person with a very happy personality who never let anyone get her down, women should be happy with curves, it what makes a woman a woman, and if men aren't happy with them? screw them! what where vibrators made for?!
sincerely, lucy x

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