Wednesday, November 4, 2009

So I'm An Imaginary Woman?

A few months ago, Glamour (a magazine to which I subscribe) put a tiny little picture on one of its pages along with a single-page article about body image...and loving yourself no matter what your flaws are.

This is that picture:

Her name is Lizzie Miller and she's twenty and gorgeous and no one is debating that.

You can find the editorial follow up here.

What is my beef, you ask?

This is what I looked like at the ripe age of 10.

This is what I looked like at the ripe age of 30...a mere month before getting myself knocked up. Sure, I look great, but T&A are not things I was endowed with.

And this is what I looked like right after lunch today. I'm 31, I'm 30 weeks pregnant, and two weeks ago I weighed in at 135. (I will be weighed again tomorrow, but we don't own a scale.)

I took these pictures at the library in the bathroom (because pregnant women pee. a LOT.)

Why was I inspired to pull out my camera and take pictures, aside from the stellar orange wall and the fact that my camera battery was actually charged?

Their guest today? Cindi Leive, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour magazine.

(hear it all here.)

Let me point out some of the key differences between my body and Lizzie's up there:

1) I am not a size twelve. On a good day I'm a size 2.
2) I'm not blonde.
3) Apparently, I am not "normal" or "real" because I don't have curves.

Who uses those heinous words? Normal. Real. Cindi herself. People who call in. Random people on the street. I've been hearing about this woman for MONTHS. I've had conversations with people who are on the other side of the body image equation wherein I've been given a heaping plate of guilt because I "just can't understand" what it's like not to be thin and gorgeous. (You know why I'm funny and a good cook? Because I was NOT a cute teenager. Lanky twelve year old boy is not a good look on a fifteen year old girl who hasn't figured out how to control her hair, yet.)

According to these people, every woman featured every where should be a "plus size"...which is a ridiculous phrase. Seriously. Plus what?  And arm? A leg? A head? Some fingers?

And women like me - the roller-skate skinny girls who just can't gain weight - should remember that men only like "real women" with curves and cushion and whatever.

Is swinging the gauntlet to the other extreme going to help women the most universally? No.

Here's what makes a person a "real" woman: having a vagina.
Here's what makes you "normal": not having an extra head.
Here's what makes you "beautiful": not being a hag.

The end.

PS - there are a few instances in the interview where the focus on health rather than appearance. But the fashion industry - by definition - doesn't care what you had for lunch. They're not selling you food. They're selling you, as so eloquently put by Nigel in The Devil Wears Prada, art that you wear. And art isn't always realistic. Sheesh.


  1. I kinda see your point, as a fellow size 2. But... there's still a big difference between you and most fashion models. You have muscle. You are healthy. You do physically active things. You can tell by looking at some of the stick straight arms of those models that they don't do any of those things and they don't eat.

  2. I see where you're coming from. And that aspect -the too skinny aspect - has been addressed and will continue to be by the industry (remember the Milan shows a few years ago that had a minimal BMI requirement?) Just like we'll never have unhealthily obese models, we shouldn't have anorexic ones either.

    I just got all riled up by hearing so many people say "real women have curves" and "a normal woman looks like..."

  3. The editor of Glamour somewhat addressed that in the last issue. Said she didn't want to say that all thin women are wrong or bad, or something along those lines.

  4. I think I missed that. I'll have to dig it out from my (very large) stack of mags. I'm glad she said something. No sense alienating one group in order to make another feel better.

  5. Anonymous11:21

    I've always been a fan of plus-size models! There's a great site with many images of plus-size models here:

    They're all gorgeous.

    The site's forum also has thought-provoking discussions about body image and the media.


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