Monday 26 March 2012

"Curvy" versus skinny...

I wrote this on Facebook in about September 2011

I have noticed, of late, a new trend, both on Facebook and in those emails that go round and round the block. 

I imagine you will have seen either or both of the two following examples:

1.  A picture of a naked fat woman, artfully posed and (no doubt) skilfully airbrushed.  She is beautiful, and has a mane of shampoo advert hair.  There is an article alongside the picture, showing an apparently offensive advert in some gym, asking if you want to be a mermaid or a whale this summer.

2.  A picture of Marilyn Monroe in a white bikini, next to a picture of a girl in a bikini who has either dieted off two stone too many, or is anorexic.  The caption is something along the lines of men preferring curvy women.

On Facebook, both these posts provoke many comments along the lines of  “Yay!  Let’s hear it for curvy girls!”  “And she was a size 16!” “Men prefer a bit of meat on the bone, not all these stick insects!”  “I’m a size 20 and proud of it!”  On one I was reading the other day, it became a rant by size 16-20 women against their slimmer sisters, all of whom were assuring each other than men preferred ‘curvy’ girls.  (When I posted a short comment along the lines of this article, I was told to ‘feck’ off!)

I would just like to say that I am neither slim nor fat, but someone who is a size 14-16 and looks a hell of a lot better when a size 12-14.  This is not relevant, but I want to make it clear that I am arguing from neither camp.

Imagine the opposite.  Someone posts a picture of a well known slim Goddess of the screen.  Farrah Fawcett.  Brigitte Bardot.  Next to this picture, there is a paparazzi snap of an overweight, little known soap star on the beach, displaying a huge arse, thunder thighs, a wobbly stomach, cellulite, etc.  The caption would read “Men prefer slim women!”

Can you imagine what an outrage that would cause?  Can you see how ludicrous it is?

Marilyn Monroe (ditto Diana Dors, and others frequently given as examples of the ‘curvier’ woman) was well proportioned and curvaceous.  She was reported to be a size 16 only occasionally, and let us not forget that a size 16 in the 1950s was inches smaller than the size 16 of today (it was 38-28-38; nowadays it is approximately 38-33-42).  Also, she had an hourglass figure, and did not suffer the double chins, bingo wings, seven months pregnant appearance and jodhpur thighs of many of today's size 16s.

Some men like women rounded and ample.  Some like ‘em fat.  Some go for the boyish figure.  Most, though, I believe, prefer attractively slim.  However, that is not really the point.  A few of my (slimmer) friends have read some of these articles and the ensuing comments, and found them to be insulting to slim women.  As one said, if she slagged off fat birds the way some fat (whoops, sorry, I mean ‘curvy’!) birds slag off the slim ones, she’d be called every bitch under the sun.

I find it depressing that these posts and the comments that follow seem to be aiming to put women in competition with each other for acceptance by men, too.  Now, imagine this scenario.  A man posts a picture of a bit of 1950s beefcake (oh, I dunno; Marlon Brando at his slightly porkier stage, maybe!), next to a picture of some skinny bloke in swimming trunks.  It is captioned “Women prefer beefier men!”  Lots of men comment “Yay, let’s hear it for the bigger guy!”  “Women like something to cuddle, not some stick insect!!”  Hmm, not likely to happen, is it? 

One of my slim friends pointed out something else that is rarely mentioned in these type of articles: being overweight is bad for your health.  It is bad for your heart, your cholesterol levels, your joints, your back, not to mention your sleep patterns and your psychological well-being. 

So, mermaid or whale?  I think I’ll go for the mermaid; without the fish tail, though, because my legs are my best feature.  Unlike my middle area, which is fat.  And no, it’s not curvy; it’s FAT.  Anyone can be whatever size they want to be; most of all, it is not a competition.


  1. Most fat people like to pretend to themselves that it's okay to be unhealthy, and elements of the media have - to some extent - started backing them up by casting judgement and ridicule on naturally slim or unnaturally thin women (specifically) in the press.

    I think if you start attacking people either way, for whatever size or shape they are, you lose the argument, because that's the same judgement that would have a fat woman with a cake crying on the street after taunts, or n bulimic woman spewing the cake up in secret.

    My weight has been up and down since my early teens, but I'm lucky to have got to the peace of mind to not worry about how others think I look, as long as I'm happy in myself, which I am. I do have concerns - currently being a chubster - for my health, but that's not a thing of ego.

    And fat is fat... curvy is curvy... I would say they're very different things, and using one as some sort of literary camouflage is ridiculous. We need to face up to ourselves.

    Great blog! :-)

  2. And great comment, Les, thank you! Glad you get where I'm coming from - you added weight to what I said, no pun intended, of course! :)

  3. Great blog Terry! Great discussion of both sides too. I'm going with mermaid too, but have been told by men they prefer legs for some reason.

    I'm frankly tired of both sides of this argument. I think as you get older the pressure to be perfect fades a bit as you work more on who you are as a person. The people who focus so much their outward appearance really should be finding out why they're fabulous.

    It is such a shame how much time and energy people put into beating themselves and others up over their perceived failings. Find something you love about yourself and develop that. Stop dwelling on your faults. We all have them, they just may not be so obvious from a glance. I know so many people who are beautiful on the outside and complete turds to everyone because they think they can get by on their looks. Pish!

    1. Hi Karen, I absolutely agree.
      Personally, I think the way we feel on the inside is reflected on the outside, but there are as you rightly say lazy types who feel they deserve everything without giving anything in return.
      To me, these people are ugly no matter what they look like…
      See you!

  4. Funny how one never hears a size 10 woman complaining that men prefer 'curves', and bemoaning the fact that she's too slim! Hmm.

    OK, I'm being flippant because it makes me laugh, and the one thing that annoys me most about this sort of article in the press is that it seeks to divide and conquer, and sets the cause of feminism back decades. C'mon ladies, put down that Daily Mail!

  5. Hi Terry. If it's ok with you I'd like to add my pound of flesh…
    First of all, I think I get what you are saying and I hope I'm not barking up the wrong tree, but to me it goes well beyond whether or not people see themselves or others as fat, curvey, big boned, or pleasantly linear.
    It's essentially in the old adage - beauty is in the eye of the beholder which if taken literally, simply means it's not what we are, but how we are perceived and this is largely and irresponsibly driven by the media.
    Your post hits an important nail on the head - why should some women be allowed to bitch about skinny, or slim women, but regular joe's not be allowed to sling mud pies the other way?
    It's crap when some women slight others just because they look after themselves.
    I was once with a girl in my younger days who was not fat, not thin, but nice and I fancied her - but I'll never forget how she and her mates used to refer to other women as bitches just because they looked good.
    The whole thing is so annoying and I could go on for years, but I won't…
    All I'll say is this, pretty, well endowed specimens of both sexes get hard times at school, at work, on the beach, in clubs just because they were born that way and because they maintain it.
    Fat people have no right to whinge into their KFC buckets if they are not prepared to get off their ass and make a go of it.
    Beauty does lie in the eyes of the beholder and that includes first and foremost ourselves and the way we see ourselves…
    It gets harder as we get older to maintain ourselves, but it's our decision at the end of the day : )
    Thanks for the great post and well done for posting it!

  6. And thank you, John, for your most interesting comment! I get so fed up with hearing larger ladies refer to slim women as 'stick insects' - if the slim women called them 'lard buckets', all hell would be let loose! But, yes, it's the competition thing that I hate, which I believe is encouraged by ghastly 'celebrity' magazines that are giving women thumbs up or down depending upon their physical appearance. Men don't do this; sadly, it is often the women themselves who put feminism back forty years...