The size debate: standards of beauty

Paleocon wrote:

Heck, there are publications for folks with five pounds of metal in their faces or full face tattoos for gods' sakes.

Wait, there's going to be a "Girls who Kick Gas" calendar this year?

Women with muscles are way too "Manish" for me. Give me a curvy top heavy real woman any day.

TheGameguru wrote:

Women with muscles are way too "Manish" for me. Give me a curvy top heavy real woman any day.

Pretty sure that women you find too manish are real women too.

Stengah wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

Women with muscles are way too "Manish" for me. Give me a curvy top heavy real woman any day.

Pretty sure that women you find too manish are real women too.

Possibly. I would let others find out for me.

momgamer wrote:

Eloquence.

Can't say it any better than that.

For practical example, the last few times Sthillary and I have been out, people have made rude comments. I already hate people, and I can accept they're assholes, but it is hard to adequately explain the absolutely murderous rage of someone directing that at people I care about. (Fortunately, I am still young and stupid enough that I felt the need to correct one of the assholes rather directly and physically.)

This isn't something women's magazines are self-perpetrating. Maybe it started that way, but it's into a full-blown cultural clusterf*ck now.

Paleo, as much as it boggles the mind, I gotta say you're wrong on this one.

Women also tend to be more critical of each other and hold to a stricter standard, looks-wise, than men hold women to.

There have been a few studies showing that men prefer a female figure several sizes larger than women prefer- usually the study involves a chart with a bunch of female silhouettes on it, from like 00 to 26, and they ask the subjects which silhouettes they prefer, and sometimes which body size they think the opposite gender finds ideal. Sometimes they test by ethnic group to make it more interesting.

IMAGE(http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/158/8/792/F1.medium.gif)

Differences Between Male and Female Preferences for Female Body Size
Body Shape Perception
Black and White College Men’s Preferred Body Types for Black and White Female Figures (PDF)
Do men hold African-American and Caucasian women to different standards of beauty?
Sex differences in preferences for ideal female body shape

tl;dr: women think women should be thinner than men think women should be, and women mistakenly think men want them that thin too.

(now say that three times fast)

And white men and women are more likely to see underweight women as a preferred type than other groups.

I remember a girl who said she felt her eating disorder begin when one of her friends told her "Wait, you're a Gap 4? You're a lot bigger than I thought!"

Women bought "women's" magazines with unrealistic body-image propagation because, for a long time, that's pretty much all they had. In my mother's generation and earlier, they ate it up because it was one of the few avenues of mass-market publication that directly marketed to them as an intended audience. The majority of other kinds magazines then were intended to be consumed by men and were clearly not even considering the female perspective. Women's mags made women feel important, considered, not-invisible (while still wearing them down). That set a standard of success for these publications that they're not wont to break away from.

It's also one of those shady "sales 101" techniques; shake the target's confidence down a little, make them unsure/insecure/worried, and then provide a solution in the form of the "product" you sell so they can now rest easy. So you'll see ads, between fluff articles (that in turn support the ads), that take part in this insidious and effective deconstruction of confidence and self.

Women keep purchasing this stuff because it's become how things are. Only recently, as in the last 15-20 years, that niche magazines have come out that may be contrary to the traditional powerhouses that "women's magazines" have become. But I think rags like Cosmo, Elle, Lucky, etc have become comfort reads that call back to earlier times. Even if they're not taken seriously by their consumers, they still have the power to negatively impact readers.

And, frankly, magazines/media aren't even the primary culprit. They're just a symptom, a result of a problem with the f*cked up way we think as a society on all fronts when our cultural ideals are shaped by near-boundless capitalism.

Last Edit (I promise): I haven't even gotten to the part where, as a society, it's totally normal and even expected that the merits of a person's body is up for public discussion and criticism at all times.

A size 8 at BR is a size 2 at Gap?

The mind boggles.

Minarchist wrote:

A size 8 at BR is a size 2 at Gap?

The mind boggles.

Mass-market sizes tend to run bigger, to flatter the proles.

I mean, maybe if one was a European (not American) D&G, and the other was Target, I might be able to swallow that, but those stores are pretty close together in the hierarchy (and co-owned. Sheesh.

First: it's disingenious to claim that a significant portion of women worship an unhealthy body type. This is true because women don't trend to high fashion magazines (they are expensive) and pop magazines do not hire runway models.

Second...yeah. America is fat. American women are fat. American models aren't. Maybe there should be some goal setting going on.

Third: I have a suspicion that women impulse buy both pop and high fashion magazines the same way certain men buy comics. It's entertainment, but to claim those men have body image issues because they can't shoot web from their hands is insulting.

Seth wrote:

First: it's disingenious to claim that a significant portion of women worship an unhealthy body type. This is true because women don't trend to high fashion magazines (they are expensive) and pop magazines do not hire runway models.

Second...yeah. America is fat. American women are fat. American models aren't. Maybe there should be some goal setting going on.

Third: I have a suspicion that women impulse buy both pop and high fashion magazines the same way certain men buy comics. It's entertainment, but to claim those men have body image issues because they can't shoot web from their hands is insulting.

Hey, I'm trying alright? Having problems with fitting all them spiders in there.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/hk3NA.jpg)

Also needs muscle tone on thighs

Fat bottomed girls, you make the rockin' world go 'round!

Seriously, I don't get why anyone would even comment. It's not just rude, it smacks of bad upbringing - it's an actual character fault as opposed to size and weight - which are not faults at all.

I like a girl who eats and legitimately and unabashedly enjoys her food. It's a buzzkill for me to see fantastic tastes and flavors going unappreciated. Also like a little cushin' for the pushin.' It gets painful when you're both too skinny.

Of course, most of the men and women in my locality actually don't look very different from Tinkerbell up there in their 20's. Lots of intake doesn't equal big frame. I used to eat two Big Macs, two servings of pasta, a liter of Coke, and a plateful of fries in one go, and I ate that much every chance I got, which was often. I only got fatter when I stopped eating so much.

momgamer wrote:

Except they've been taught by pretty much everything else they're supposed to be ashamed.

I'm not sure how to explain this to you. Let me try it this way. We have an ice cream shop chain here called Dairy Queen. They make the best fat free/sugar free fudge bars. They're so good my kids will rifle my freezer for them even if there is other ice cream in the house.

However, if I walk into that store, I get knowing stares and tsking comments in the line behind me, just because I'm the size I am and I walk into the store. Everyone assumes I'm there to overindulge with something awful.

I don't know how to make you understand how that feels even once, much less day in and day out and manifesting in every subtle and blatant way you can imagine. You, no one would look twice at. You could walk out of there with six sundaes and no one would even blink.

The few who aren't ashamed and just do what they like are called every sort of bad name. And those who like that sort of thing are treated as if they're sick or wrong. Ever heard the term "chubby chaser"? There are niche materials out there, but they're treated on the same level as Furry publications (which also do exist). Heck, just read the article in the root post for a rather tame demonstration of their reception.

This isn't a new thing. Ever hear the old nursery rhyme about Jack Sprat and his wife? And it starts in that young, too. The new and uh... improved Tinker Bell is a great example. Or the new Dora the Explorer.

We all should buck up, right? What the entire world has to say shouldn't matter. Well, I do as best I can. I actually manage to leave the house most days. And I square my shoulders and go buy my fudge bars trying to keep in mind that they all can take a nice long running kiss at my rosy Irish ass. Even someone as dumb as them can't miss mine. But that doesn't mean it is right, or that no one should be trying to find another way.

And just not buying Vogue won't help. There is no way I could walk into a store and vote with my wallet about the magazines. There is nothing else out there. If I don't buy anything, then the magazine publishers don't get any message - you're just not their market. You get ignored and written off by yet another segment of the world. Nice. It's not just magazines. I have this problem with games, too.

Thanks for your post.

I don't doubt that this sort of asshaberdashery exists. I see it myself and generally make it a point to put a stop to it where I can. More to the point, I encountered similar crap growing up (and occasionally even now) regarding the unattractiveness of Asian males. And though I see plenty of depictions in media that press the stereotype, I (as Amoebic points out) don't see this as the cause as much as a symptom of people's ignorance.

Trust me. I get how it feels to be different and despised and/or ridiculed for it. Ask me how many noses I've broken or trips to the principal's office I've taken for not simply ignoring people repeating the rhyme "chinese, Japanese, dirty knees...". There are only so many times you can repeat "sticks and stones" or "I'm rubber you're glue" until you just have to jump onto someone's face and break something.

On the Asian male front it has certainly gotten better. Hawaii Five-O's Daniel Dae Kim (I'm told) is the very definition of hotness. Some of my female friends even tell me the Mentalist's Tim Kang is highly doable. And just about every time I mention that I practice MMA, women tell me they get the female equivalent of an erection whenever they see Dong-Hyun "the Stun Gun" Kim. We still have our Ken Jeong folks who pander to the stereotypes (a long tradition of Yellowface that started with white actors playing roles like Charlie Chan and continued with Asian actors playing roles like Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles), but the availability of media and the widening market has made even mainstream media have to adapt.

I see the same for female body image as well happening. Perhaps not in fashion magazines, but that is such a tiny (and diminishing) part of what people in general (and girls in particular) see. Queen Latifah is an icon. J Lo with her marvelous butt is as well. One of the most popular comedies on television is Mike and Molly. The media landscape isn't monopolized by anorexic images defining "normative" by a long stretch.

LarryC wrote:

Seriously, I don't get why anyone would even comment. It's not just rude, it smacks of bad upbringing - it's an actual character fault as opposed to size and weight - which are not faults at all.

Wise words, LarryC.

+++++

Maybe the better comparison with the pressure on women when it comes to their looks would be the pressure on men when it comes to their status.

Women buy horrible magazines; men blow up the world economy to build a bigger house in the Hamptons than the other guy.

Paleocon wrote:

Some of my female friends even tell me the Mentalist's Tim Kang is highly doable.

Your female friends are right. Tim Kang is ridiculously hot.

momgamer wrote:

And just not buying Vogue won't help. There is no way I could walk into a store and vote with my wallet about the magazines. There is nothing else out there. If I don't buy anything, then the magazine publishers don't get any message - you're just not their market. You get ignored and written off by yet another segment of the world. Nice. It's not just magazines. I have this problem with games, too.

This is so true. I stopped buying Cosmo, Vogue, Elle and all the others right about the time I realized they were all recycling material from month to month (particularly the "One Zillion Ways to Blow His Mind in Bed" type articles), and was made mostly of advertisements for clothes and fashion I could never pull off because I'm not built like a friggin' coat hanger.

These magazines don't care that they lost my money, though. I go home empty-handed because there's no alternative for normal, average-sized women. I guess they figure that so long as no one else is getting my money, then they don't have to worry. And they can always hope I'll cave and buy one anyway.

When I read what you wrote, all I could think of was a quote from the character Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory: "Sheldon, you forget that I am a lady, and that sometimes I feel the need to page through thick, glossy magazines that make me feel bad about my body."

We all do it, I just can't figure out why we do it.

Did anyone else notice the Connect 4 going on in the OP article?

Regardless of all else, two women embracing is alway hot. Just saying...

Mex wrote:

Bang Foto

Your wingmen must love you.

Paleocon wrote:
momgamer wrote:

...fudge bars and you can't vote with your wallet if there's only one choice on the ballot

...insanely cool word and a great perspective on the problem from the standpoint of race instead of gender and size, plus a list of hot Asian guys...

I appreciate your answer. I know you have had your own struggles. And they suck too. I hope you didn't think I was trying to call you out on the carpet. I guess I wish I was as hopeful as you that this was a symptom of people's real attitudes changing. Maybe I spend too much time trying to fend off these slings and arrows and I don't see the same gain you do here on the ground.

I don't know who you hang out with, but a lot of people don't see Queen Latifah as an icon. They see her as a fat, pushy bitch. J Lo, neither. How many people have cruel comments every time Oprah gains weight again? Or that whole mess with Kirstie Alley. Ditto with Carnie Wilson and Cathy Bates. And as hopeful as Mike and Molly is, it is only one example in a sea of Friends and Sex in the Cities.

Gender is a factor in this. Reactions to "that sort of asshaberdashery" tend to be different. Girls internalize it. They rarely confront the source and even if they do declaim how wrong the hat-rack was, inside they start to believe it. Boys, on the other hand are more likely to take the problem back to the source. And the differences in approach to both internal and external problems like this is discernible before the kid is even properly verbal. You can start here if you want to start studying it but it's a huge topic. That's what I was limping around the mulberry bush towards with my example.

On a happier note, I am in total agreement with your friends on the topic of hot Asian dudes. Daniel Dae Kim is blistering hot, as is Joon Park. Bi Rain (dude from Ninja Assasin and Speed Racer) and Eru aren't too bad, in an awkwardly-too-young-for-me-to-look-at-like-that sort of way. Another one would be Nicholas Teo. He isn't Korean (he's half Chinese and half Malaysian), but also works for landscape appreciation. I became a fan of his work when I had to sing one of his songs at someone's wedding. I like older guys so I generally go with Ken Watanabe, Chou Yun Fat and Randall Duk Kim, myself.

(And while it might look like it, I don't only think Asian guys are hot, but you brought them up. I have a long and varied landscape appreciation list. )

CheezePavilion wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

Heck, there are publications for folks with five pounds of metal in their faces or full face tattoos for gods' sakes.

Wait, there's going to be a "Girls who Kick Gas" calendar this year?

It's scheduled to go to press the week before the SI Swimsuit issue.

momgamer wrote:
Paleocon wrote:
momgamer wrote:

...fudge bars and you can't vote with your wallet if there's only one choice on the ballot

...insanely cool word and a great perspective on the problem from the standpoint of race instead of gender and size, plus a list of hot Asian guys...

I appreciate your answer. I know you have had your own struggles. And they suck too. I hope you didn't think I was trying to call you out on the carpet. I guess I wish I was as hopeful as you that this was a symptom of people's real attitudes changing. Maybe I spend too much time trying to fend off these slings and arrows and I don't see the same gain you do here on the ground.

I don't know who you hang out with, but a lot of people don't see Queen Latifah as an icon. They see her as a fat, pushy bitch. J Lo, neither. How many people have cruel comments every time Oprah gains weight again? Or that whole mess with Kirstie Alley. Ditto with Carnie Wilson and Cathy Bates. And as hopeful as Mike and Molly is, it is only one example in a sea of Friends and Sex in the Cities.

Gender is a factor in this. Reactions to "that sort of asshaberdashery" tend to be different. Girls internalize it. They rarely confront the source and even if they do declaim how wrong the hat-rack was, inside they start to believe it. Boys, on the other hand are more likely to take the problem back to the source. And the differences in approach to both internal and external problems like this is discernible before the kid is even properly verbal. You can start here if you want to start studying it but it's a huge topic. That's what I was limping around the mulberry bush towards with my example.

On a happier note, I am in total agreement with your friends on the topic of hot Asian dudes. Daniel Dae Kim is blistering hot, as is Joon Park. Bi Rain (dude from Ninja Assasin and Speed Racer) and Eru aren't too bad, in an awkwardly-too-young-for-me-to-look-at-like-that sort of way. Another one would be Nicholas Teo. He isn't Korean (he's half Chinese and half Malaysian), but also works for landscape appreciation. I became a fan of his work when I had to sing one of his songs at someone's wedding. I like older guys so I generally go with Ken Watanabe, Chou Yun Fat and Randall Duk Kim, myself.

(And while it might look like it, I don't only think Asian guys are hot, but you brought them up. I have a long and varied landscape appreciation list. )

I've always been mystified by how the anorexically thin, nearly androgynous k-pop stars like Eru can be attractive to anyone. But then again, I don't get the Twilight phenomenon either. As for the older dudes, my friend Karen lets out a little "oh my jesus" every time she sees a picture of Ken Watanabe or Chou Yun Fat.

I just wish this sort of Asian male appreciation was around when I was growing up or even of college age. It wasn't until I moved to the West Coast and Asia that folks told me I looked like a buff version of Emil Chow (in a good way though I don't see it).

But back to the original topic and body image...

I think it is crappy that anyone should be made to feel like they are some sort of a monster or outsider in society by virtue of the way they look irrespective of how they look. Being overweight should not be a license for others to treat you like crap, make comments about your appearance, or discriminate against you in areas in which appearance should not apply (e.g.: fitness to perform job tasks etc.).

That said, if one is truly concerned about how they look (and this should not be a source of one's self worth or image) and how others look at them in terms of attractiveness, weight and body fat composition are things within one's control. It is not easy by any stretch and some have it genetically better than others for sure. And airbrushed celebrity images may contribute to an impossible ideal of beauty. But as I've noted before, the existence of the impossible ideal (one that I don't even recognize as particularly attractive) doesn't affect how or why I don't find the Rubenesque figure attractive.

Again, I want to reiterate that I don't think it is right that folks judge on this basis, but I know that it does happen. And though it isn't the sole or even primary reason I spend so much time in the gym (I actually enjoy it), part of me does stay in shape because I recognize folks really do treat me differently when I am 12% body fat, wearing a suit, and just had a straight razor shave than if I'm at 25%, wearing elastic waistbands, and have two days of growth on my face.

Friends is actually a good example of changing perceptions of beauty. That show was on in the 90s (and early 2000s), when women like Calista Flockhart, Portia DeRossi, and Courteney Cox really did seem disturbingly thin. Now not only have those ladies put on some healthy weight, but leading television ladies include Allison Hannigan, Kat Dennings, Kaley Cuoco, Lea Michele, Amy Pohler, Tina Fey, and Cobie Smulders; all ladies of a healthy body weight.

I have not ever looked at a Cosmo or a Vogue, so they may be full of runway models. That said, my experience with other types of modeling -- glamour, editorial, even fashion and commercial modeling -- is that people specifically avoid clothes-hanger style women. Runway models have a niche but it's just a niche.

Side Note: If we're making lists of hot Asians, I would be remiss not to point out Donnie Yen.

That is something else I was wondering Seth, how can Christina Hendricks be so desired by men, if Kate Moss is ideal?

KingGorilla wrote:

That is something else I was wondering Seth, how can Christina Hendricks be so desired by men, if Kate Moss is ideal?

Kate Moss is associated with terms like "size 0 fashion" and "heroin chic." She is the anti-Tyra, the anti-Crawford. And while some dudes dig that, I wouldn't use the term "ideal" any more than I would call Nirvana "ideal."

A trend really started to take place in the middle of the last decade where even high fashion designers are moving away from extremely thin models.

Wikipedia wrote:

In September 2010, Victoria Beckham banned size zero models from her New York Fashion Week runway show. Herself a size two (UK size 6) at 36 years old, she reportedly barred 12 models from appearing in her show after deeming them 'too skinny'. Her fashions will be modelled by "healthy girls who look 'realistic' to encourage a positive image to impressionable teens."[8]
Size zero models were barred from Madrid Fashion Week in 2006, and the Milan fashion show took the same action shortly afterward, banning models with a body mass index (BMI) of 18 or below. As a result, five models were banned from taking part.[9]
Fashion labels Prada, Versace and Armani have agreed to ban size zero models from their catwalks. As of 2007, the British Fashion Council promoted the creation of a task force to establish guidelines for the fashion industry. They also urged fashion designers to use healthy models. An inquiry reported in September 2007 that up to 40 per cent of models could have an eating disorder and made a number of suggestions to promote health, yet ruled out a ban on size-zero models. Larger sizes 14 and 16 - would also be introduced into shows and all models under 16 would also be banned.[2]
Fashion designer Giorgio Armani has given support to the effort to eliminate ultra-thin models. "The time has now come for clarity. We all need to work together against anorexia."[2]

Given that they are only one year apart in age, I think both Moss and Hendricks are beautiful in their own way.

Paleocon wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

Heck, there are publications for folks with five pounds of metal in their faces or full face tattoos for gods' sakes.

Wait, there's going to be a "Girls who Kick Gas" calendar this year?

It's scheduled to go to press the week before the SI Swimsuit issue.

I would like to order the Commemorative Limited Edition with the mini-shivgee, please.

KingGorilla wrote:

That is something else I was wondering Seth, how can Christina Hendricks be so desired by men, if Kate Moss is ideal?

I think because there's a difference between beauty as how attractive a woman is in the eyes of men and beauty as how flawless a woman is in the eyes of women. It's easier to find 'flaws' in YoSaffBridge than Kate Moss. Easier to find things--no pun intended--to get turned on by, but easier to find things to criticize as well.

As someone else in this thread brought up, I think the whole skinnier model thing is not nearly as big a problem as the amazing vampire celebrity thing. The industry created around keeping 60+ year old celebrities looking like they're in their early 30's is more than a bit creepy.

I was 5 when this picture was taken:

IMAGE(http://s.buzzfed.com/static/enhanced/terminal01/2009/12/14/16/enhanced-buzz-31445-1260826125-14.jpg)

I was 30 when this one was taken.

IMAGE(http://i1081.photobucket.com/albums/j344/AU-FIF/cindycrawford7.jpg)

That defies understanding.