Thursday, March 29, 2012

Size Acceptance...Close, But Not Quite

I feel like I'm seeing more and more of this type of thing: articles/blogs which celebrate bigger women, but sorta miss the mark. The one here, which I randomly stumbled upon (I know literally nothing about the site I just linked) is called "10 Incredibly Hot Women who are a Size 12 or Larger" and it delivers exactly what it promised.

Except...there are a few other messages I get with this type of curvy-celebration, namely now ALL WOMEN can be sex objects. YAAAAY!

But don't be TOO big. Or TOO dark. Or non stereotypically feminine. Sigh.

I know, I know. I need to appreciate these efforts for what they are, but I can't help but wish it could be so much more. What can I say. I'm a dreamer.


  1. I think I understand where you are coming from, but our of curiosity, what kind of representation of women are you looking for?

    1. Like I said, I do see these depictions as steps in the right direction, but they're more baby steps than being super meaningful.

      So often when we see bigger women, it becomes just about how they are bigger, instead of having them seamlessly integrated into existing media. So we get this article which celebrates them for being bigger, which is great, but we don't get TV shows where the leading actress is plus sized and the show ISN'T all about her plus sized-ness.

      And then, there's the element of objectification, like I mentioned above. When plus sized models are used, it's often a double edge sword not only because they are sexually objectified but also there's this exploitative/patronizing side that's saying OMG SHE'S ACTUALLY SEXY EVEN THOUGH SHE'S FAT. (Take the linked article and then this, from Vogue Italia:

      What I'm looking for is a media which doesn't highlight women simply FOR being plus sized; I'm looking for one which shows women at a true range of sizes (16 isn't as big as we come, you know!) doing a variety of things, being a variety of people, and it not always being about their weight.

      It's like the "tragic gay love story" trope where every time a couple is gay, someone dies and/or they are torn hopelessly apart (think Brokeback Mountain, A Single Man). Sometimes I'd just like to see a happy, healthy gay couple where their gayness is a part of their character but not THE defining characteristic...similarly, I'd like to see fat women on the screen who happen to be fat but their plus sized-ness isn't the focus.

      So to wrap up this horrible ramble: taking the time to notice that (gasp!) fat women are sexy too is great, but real size acceptance comes from a place that doesn't see fat women as outsiders who need special acknowledgement anyway.

  2. I mentioned exactly this when talking with some feminist friends the other day. As much as I love the move towards body acceptance and the recognition that everyone can be perceived as beautiful, I hate that is has to go hand-in-hand with the sexualization/objectification of women. Personally, I don't care if anyone tells me, "Oh, your muffin top is hot hot hot so hot OMG." I just want not to be harassed or made to feel less-than because my body doesn't measure up to an arbitrary ideal.

    1. Yeah, I agree...the This is Thin Privilege tumblr tackled something similar to this recently, too.

      The general question is: is it better to be not represented or represented poorly? I liked this quote:

      "Personally, I think that disadvantaged-people-as-villains-or-butts-of-jokes is a stage on the way to better representation, but not one we should passively accept as a good thing or any kind of stopping point. It’s a thing to push past."

      I'd say the same thing goes for the certain-fat/curvy-women-are-sexy's on the way to better representation, but not a stopping point. We gotta push past!


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