Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Beauty is in the Eye of the Editor

This is twenty year old "plus-sized" (12-14) model Lizzie Miller, who is featured on page 194 of Glamour magazine's September 2009 issue. A small photo, 3x3, but it's causing a big stir in the industry.

Because this is what editors usually serve us up as the ideal female form.

Devoid of fat. Devoid of muscle. Delicate of bone and transparent of rib, yet also somehow, inexplicably, bursting with bolted-on boobs.

I worked part time as a model my last two years of high school. I stood 5'7" in my stocking feet and weighed 120 pounds. I was told by my agent that in order to continue to have a career, I needed to lose TWENTY more pounds. "Fuck that," I said through a mouthful of Cheetos, and left the building.

Designers claim that when they first start showing a collection, and because they of course do not yet have any orders, they deliberately make their "samples" in the smallest sizes possible in order to save time and materials. Fine. Then show the clothing on REAL hangers and leave the rest of us in peace to purchase whatever size we happen to be naturally.


the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

You were a model? That explains so much!

1) I have trouble believing that the 'plus sized' model above is a 12-14. To me, she just looks like, well, me - a womanly woman with a teeny bit of a mom belly. Maybe she's a 12-14 because she's super tall? She looks NORMAL.

2) I know that in the UK, they hold their 'plus sized' models, like Sophie Dahl, in higher regard than we do here. Can you say 'social change'?

3) I saw a woman on the Tube that I was 100% certain was a model: she was well made up, expensive haircut, nice clothes, and death-camp skinny. I pointed her out to my husband - who had no idea. I think this is the case with most people - they have no idea what that looks like in real life.

moi said...

She looks tall to me, too, so maybe that's where the 12-14 comes in. She's also super athletic, so you know she's got muscle.

Plus, the camera does in fact add weight. Which is most likely why we can look at photos of exceptionally thin women and think their bodies are normal. When, in reality, the average American female at a size 10-12 is the norm and naturally thin women – although they do exist – are nonetheless the exceptions.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

the camera does in fact add weight -- that's one of those things that I wish were not true. It does. Because of it, I have very little idea of what I look like to other people. I see pictures of me and all I see are my flaws. I'm so stuck in my own head and my own version of me that I don't really accept when people say I'm skinny, or small.

(my husband, bless him, says skinny is a derogatory term - this is a guy thing apparently.)

After I had babies I had to basically stop worrying about how I looked, accept the changes that my body had gone under - for sanity's sake. I did not do this easily - and I still don't fully accept my age. This is one of the many, many reasons why I love triathlon. It's a complicated web - probably worthy of a post all its own...

moi said...

Well, as I tell all my friends, "I'm going down kicking, screaming, and hoping for a set of ever-improving, non-invasive plastic surgery techniques." Let's face it, ain't none of us wants to get older. And we all have our self image stuff. But to make it a continual preoccupation just gets in the way of enjoying life. Do men have the same issues, I wonder? They don't seem to, but maybe they just hide it better?

LaDivaCucina said...

Darlings, this is one of my favorite subjects to snark about! La Diva is short with skinny, long legs and a short waist with big boobs. Think rubenesque, the "apple" shape. I've modeled too, believe it or not, but not clothes for a few print ads and hair shows. My weight goes up and down and up and down but one thing is certain: I always dress appropriately for my weight and size and carry myself with confidence. I am especially careful not to be casual or slovenly when I'm a bit heavier to make myself feel better about the extra pounds. (I always thought that Isabel Sanford of the Jeffersons always looked so elegant for a plus size woman)

When I was in my 20's I lost a lot of weight. I was super skinny. All my girlfriends said I looked fabulous. All the men in my life, including my dad, husband and brother, told me I look horrible and please put on some weight. They thought I looked ill.

When I was single, no matter what weight I put on, I attracted good looking guys. One gorgeous creature told me that when he saw me coming out of the water after snorkeling I looked like Venus rising from the depths! HA! Flatterer. I realized over time that a few pounds here and there should have no bearing on how fabulous I was or could be!

My 21 year old nephew was staying with me last week and I was lamenting my weight gain to him as I was struggling to fit into some clothes before we went out. he said to me very sweetly: Auntie Laura, you're not fat. You are just curvy." Ahh, the dear. He's going in my will.

One last thing: I went to a pool party of a 50 year old woman a few months back. ALL of the women (except me) were pointing out their flaws to me. My legs are jobbly, my tummy, blah blah blah. I said to them: Ladies. LOVE yourself. I've not heard ONE MAN today point out his belly or receding hairline! So STOP IT!

I am what I am and what I am is like my momma! 'Nuff said!