I will begin with the obligatory statement that I love homosexuals. I have no problem with them. As a Catholic I am called to love the sinner and hate the sin. But this post is not about homosexuality per se.
Numerous times in the last couple years various web publishers have pondered how the more womanly (shapely, curvacious) pin up girl of prior generations have come to be supplanted by “waifs” and women with the so-called “Athletic body type” as the archetype of what is physically desirable.
A well-known expert on the topic of eating disorders and the modeling industry, MamaV, happens to be a friendly of mine in meat space. She and I talked about this very topic last year. Her site chronicles the struggles many women in and outside the Industry have with eating disorders. You can read her blog on Women Body Image & Eating Disorders here.
As a father of 3 girls, two of which are teenagers and one of which has had a brush with an eating disorder, MamaV and I have discussed the topic at some length.
The last conversation we had (last year, perhaps?) we went down the rabbit hole and covered the more commonly identified antagonists… the media, Hollywood… the unrealistic images of women plastered in magazines and consumed voraciously by young impressionable girls. We covered these more obvious themes. I still believe there is some merit to placing the blame for our cultural frenzy over the unattainable – as in, air-brushed 12 and 13 year olds being passed off as twenty something corporate go-getters in the pages of Mademoiselle for instance.
Do I think Fashion Publishers and Hollywood are worthy of some blame as it relates to the corruption of body image and the bastardization of what is “beautiful”? Yes. Absolutely. To profit from advancing an unreal-istic goal… by selling fiction as achievable is scandalous and damaging.
Yet, the question we are treating on relates to the morphing of what is considered beautiful in American Pop Culture.
How did it happen that Monroe became “plus sized” and that people like Keira Knightly became the goal?
BTW – Full Disclosure: I like women of mostly all shapes and sizes (within reason), but do have a preference for so-called “Athletic” body typed women like Keira Knightly. I like em long and lean. But I have no problem appreciating the more voluptuous body types either. It really is sort of a case-by-case basis for yours truly. Point being, I do prefer to look at more slender women. But even so, there is a point at which someone looks sickly. If someone is too skinny for what they are natively apt to be, it is as off-putting as someone who shaves off their eyebrows and replaces them with tattooed ones in my book.
Back to the topic at hand.
When speaking with MamaV it occurred to me that perhaps the domination of the Fashion Industry by Gay Men has a great deal with today’s “perfect body”.
It makes a great deal of sense that men who prefer men would think that less-curvy women are more attractive.
Let me put it this way: if you’re not into hips and boobs… if you prefer the “perfect male physique” (different topic), it makes sense that you would find women with narrower hips and smaller boobs relatively more attractive than the chick on Mad Men. You know, the one with the abundance of outstanding assets.
Someone will accuse me of Homophobia or something for writing this. But I am sure it is not a novel line of thinking. I just haven’t encountered this hypothesis before.
Odd to think that perhaps women are being pressured to look more like boys by people who prefer “boys/men”.
Then again, I am a middle-aged, overweight lump whose fashion hasn’t changed substantially since the Nineties. What the hell do I know? Not much.
UPDATE: Thx to Stacy at TheOtherMcCain for the linky love!