Food For Thought: This Petite Ponders Plus-Size
Amidst the endless stream of assignments and lecture notes, I managed to stumble upon an interesting post in a local gym here in Halifax. Instead of the usual energy drink ad or some fabulous photo of someone ripped, I found myself staring at and into the numerous curves and crooks of Tara Lynn hunched in a straw chair with a curvy-friendly slogan I can’t remember for the life of me.
It was a magazine clipping, I discovered from Elle France. Behind the numerous spectators and PC (politically correct) kids proclaiming the image’s integrity, I wondered what exactly was the point of cheering on this curvy lush image.
I thought about the many ads that were pro-exercise, campaigning against inactivity and declaring war on the obesity epidemic which has taken a huge toll on North Americans. Then, I thought about the outrageous proportions plaguing the fashion industry and the greater media.
Seriously, which way are we leaning towards?
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that a healthy body weight promotes healthy living and there are finer angles than the extremes.
Being a petite person, I’ve always been a little self-conscious about my weight often thinking I didn’t measure up to the standard of my age range in height, pounds and clothing size. Asking around campus and talking amongst fellow models, the whole aesthetic turned out to be a huge issue and it turned out people weren’t as happy or confident as they seemed.
“You think I’m beautiful? Thanks! I never really thought of myself like that.”
“I never thought I’d get into modeling because everyone is so gorgeous!”
“I always felt like I never measured up to everyone else here. Like, they’re all so pretty.”
When I asked them why they felt the way they did, they all pretty much said the same thing. It was either an issue of feeling like they didn’t meet the aesthetic standards of having a thin waistline, essentially flawless skin, or a buxom bustline.
On the other hand, many plus sized girls I spoke to shared the same qualms about themselves but were less inclined to assume some responsibility. The models I spoke to blamed their “shortcomings” or failure meet their aesthetic standards on something they failed to do but, the plus sized girls I spoke to were nonchalant…and well, pretty cool about it.
“I am who I am and the fact is, I’m not afraid to stuff my face when I’m hungry. I don’t care if I’m a little curvy, I’m not gonna starve myself just to be ‘pretty’.”
“I think the problem is really with the media because a lot of what they put out there just isn’t healthy and yeah, obesity is an issue and people need to exercise, but we’ve got to realistic.”
“I know I’m beautiful on the inside even if people might think I’m not beautiful on the outside. I’ve got a good job and some great friends and life isn’t about keeping up appearances.”
I wasn’t all that surprised by their responses and a lot of what they said was true. Life isn’t about keeping up appearances and beauty is something that can be measured inside and out.
But, I still can’t help but feel that this “curvy” and “plus-size” hype is essentially perpetuating an unhealthy lifestyle. It’s one thing to be bodacious and true to yourself but, it’s quite another to be unhealthy. The Body Mass Index (BMI) and nutrition guides serve the purpose of promoting healthy eating and exercise, and if you find you’re over the limits of your prescribed measurements according to the BMI, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hit the treadmill or take the stairs for a while. I got the same sentiments from the curvier girls I talked to because even though they raised great points about the media and the superficialities of what we might consider “beautiful”, they all agreed that health comes first and foremost. At the end of our conversations, they all expressed resolutions for losing weight by healthier eating and incorporating more exercise into their schedules.
That’s not to say models like Tara Lynn aren’t a bad thing. I think it’s great that the industry has considered and entertained prospects of plus-sized models because everyone deserves to feel beautiful.
But, the stark reality is that the world isn’t polite to people who go against niches.
For further reading, calculate your BMI here.
And, check out Canada’s Food Guide here.