Thursday, 16 June 2011

Coz the fat lady sings...

It was a beautiful day... only because it's public holiday here in SA (yes another one) and I got to sleep through most of it. I needed the rest because it's been a hectic week and between the rush of deadlines, my current addiction to toasted tuna sandwiches (on rye) and my recurring bouts of online procrastination, two things caught my eye...

Firstly, I came across something that I thought was a joke but no, it appears that Vogue Curvy is indeed a legitimate link on the Italian Magazine's website. The page is dedicated to fashion for the somewhat larger woman... basically, every woman on earth that's not starving herself.

At first, I didn't know if the magazine should be applauded for their inclusion of every woman that's not a size zero in the fashion industry; or if we should be insulted that they have made what they consider to be beautiful the norm and standard, and have thus relegated every other woman that does not fit into their standard as the exception to that norm i.e. made them the other... people like Miss Amy Lemons.
According to Vogue's personnel, Miss Lemons is a glamorous up-and-coming plus-sized model. Now I don't know about everyone else's opinion, but if she's a plus sized model then I reckon that about 99% of the entire female population must be morbidly obese. I find this offensive and disturbing on many levels. Exactly when have we accepted and allowed such a skewered and deceptive perception of the female form to infiltrate into our consciousness? And furthermore, exactly what or who is the driving force behind it? Could it perhaps be men in general? Is this what men want or expect from their women?
The truth is that the super-skinny image is being endorsed by people everywhere - from those celebs who idolize the designers... to the people who idolize those celebs... to the people on the street buying those magazines and sponsoring that ideal - thereby making it an acceptable norm and an industry standard; because if the general public rejected the ideal outright and said NO we won't accept this, there would be no pay-off and nothing to gain for it's punters. Either way, the concept is being sold to the masses and someone somewhere says that it's not only OK to be stick-thin but it is a general requirement to be accepted in society, and that's what women the world over should be striving for.

Many people believe that the someone responsible could be many someones - alluding to the large number of prominent homosexual designers that dominate the industry that have no respect for, or sense of, the female form.Those people believe that to a bunch of gay men, fashion is art and the objective is the end product. There are no "human" elements in the pieces because it's all about the clothes. The clothes wear the person, not the other way around.

In a grander context, no matter how crude the suggestion, it would make some sense. Now I get that a large part of fashion is the designers artistic expression - I really do. And I have nothing against homosexuals - I neither condemn nor do I condone their lifestyles because that is between them and The Creator (In fact, I had no objections and it was in my best interests to have a gay friend at a time when I was alone in a strange city with a bunch of back-stabbing women I couldn't trust and men who were too predatory for my liking)...

But I have to say that for a community that insists that they are as much a part of society as everyone else and are no different to the rest of the world, there are many that keep on excluding themselves from the very society they claim to be a part of... therefore making themselves the other. Think about it, there's the Gay Pride Parade and Gay Bars and many other exclusive little societies that enable and perpetuate their exclusion from the rest of humanity... not that I have an issue with any of it, I just think that it's one huge contradiction. 

I grew up in a country where everyone who wasn't White had to fight to become a part of the greater society and to be afforded the same Human Rights... yet we don't have Black Pride Parades or Black / Coloured / Asian Bars. Non-Blacks aren't other-ing themselves constantly, they are co-existing with the society that they fought to be a part of.

Which brings me to my point... it may not have an ounce of truth to it, but there is something in the notion that a dominant homosexual arena would influence the likes of Vogue Curvy - a page which ultimately others and marginalizes perfectly normal women who don't fit into an unrealistic stereotype. And the reason it's so unrealistic is because with the advent of technology, almost every single picture taken is "doctored" in some way or form to make the model look her premium best. In fact, most of these real-life models can never measure up to themselves and their digitally enhanced perfectionism.

The humiliating consequences are that there are hordes of ignorant women who want to compete with a computer generated model. The number of people suffering from eating disorders is unprecedented. And worst of all, the devastating psychological effects in reverse - the irony of ironies - those normal, naturally thin women who will end up obese because they want to be skinny. There was a time when women looked like women. These days, more and more of them are made to look like adolescent boys to fulfill some designer's unbridled fantasy. And as always, the youth suffer... I have an 8 year old sister who's obsessed with her weight because she doesn't believe that people will accept and love her if she has a double chin. 

Personally I'm all for exercise and living a healthy lifestyle; I even derive an immense amount of joy from it. But there are limits, and I'm never going to say no to good food.


Secondly, I've mentioned my penchant for keeping up to date with the Latin American celebrity scene. This week during one of my notoriously productive procrastination sessions, I found out that the man I love to hate, a one Diego Forlan had broken off his engagement to his girlfriend of three years, Zaira Nara.
The news has come as a shock to the Latin community because they had only gotten engaged three months ago and were due to marry at the end of July. So what prompted the end of a three year relationship? Well, many people have been speculating and there are several stories doing the rounds, and all of them are unsubstantiated. But according to some folk (and this is unsubstantiated too) the main reason behind the split was because Zaira insisted on a pre-nuptial agreement and as such, Diego acquiesced and told her that if their marriage went sour, he'd give her USD$4 million cash and a further USD$4 million in property. 

Zaira then skipped off to her Daddy who told her that it wasn't enough, before she decided to confront Diego on their month-long sojourn in Miami, Florida. Diego flipped (as I'm sure he did) and out of anger told her that she either marries him or she doesn't - but that if she decided to marry him and they did get divorced, she wouldn't see a cent. She then told him that she can't marry him under those conditions and they called the whole thing off.
And so the whole world caught several glimpses of her while she cried on the beach in Miami.

Now I cannot, for the life of me, comprehend why people would fight over the circumstances surrounding their divorce before they even get married! But I'll give, and say that with her being a model and him being a high profile sports star, they have to protect their interests (and assets). 

As a woman, I can tell you that every woman wants a degree of security in her relationship with the man she marries - emotional, financial and physical security. She wants someone she can depend on, even when she's independent. She wants someone who's responsible and can take care of her. Every single woman (no matter what the other's say) want and need this from a potential partner... the degree varying from woman to woman.

That said, if this story is indeed true, then I don't believe that Zaira ever loved Diego because a woman who claims to love a man and is planning a life with him will marry him in a heartbeat, even if he gives her no assurances and no money. Because estrogen is wired that way.

Again if the story is true, then I think Zaira is a silly girl because this is the same man who, as a 12 year old boy, promised his paralysed sister (in her hospital bed) that he would dedicate himself to a career as professional football player so that he could pay their bills and afford the best doctors for her. Now if that's how he treats his family, I can't imagine what he'd do for his wife and future children!  

I think all couples can learn from actors Courtney Cox and David Arquette. They were in couples therapy for an entire year before they got married, to ensure that they got married for the right reasons, and they've been married for 11 years - a milestone by Hollywood's standards. And even with his recent tumble from grace - battling alcoholism, his personal issues with his deceased mother, and their decision to seperate for a while - they've still managed to stay together.

All I have to say is... Forlan, call me. I'll marry you and your abs for 5 cents and a donut. Or better yet, marry me and I'LL pay YOU.
I've always said that it is Greed, not Money, that is the root of all evil. If one looks carefully at every other sin, the driving force behind it is almost always Greed. In most cases, Greed is the desire to own or utilize more than you've been allocated.... it's a sense of entitlement to that which does not belong to you. The lesson for me being... I don't ever want to own something that doesn't belong to me, and I wouldn't want anything from my future husband that he's not prepared to give me willingly.

I ardently believe that the day the world stops WANTING is the day that we'll know peace.


  1. I have known quite some marriage arrangements breaking down over dowry / mahr discussions!

    Forlan was my favourite player from the World Cup.

  2. As for the fashion industry, it's sick. I get it that one must have beautiful people on their magazine covers, but some of the models are anemic!

  3. Hmmm - overweight women (gravitationally challenged) who are stereotyped are being abused by the social system and abs (and what is likely Forlan's good character and love for family) becomes your standard...

    Ok you did offer him a doughnut if he'd love you forever but I am left wondering if it's really LOVE since you didn't say that the doughnut would have chocolate on top!

  4. The day the world stops wanting is when we'll all become Buddhists, hopefully without shaving our heads.
    I agree with you about gay marches being silly, but gay bars are absolutely necessary. Otherwise straight men might get their bottoms pinched by gay men, which would lead to Armageddon. We gorillas admire fertile-looking women - I wouldn't charge Kate Winslet for one of my supple-fingered massages.

  5. mezba - I don't understand what all the fuss is about. I'm sure any man with pure intentions will give the woman whatever he can afford. And any woman with pure intentions won't make excessive demands from a man if she knows that he can't afford it. I guess to some people it's all about money. The fashion industry is a farce because the concept of the "brand" is one of the biggest lies sold to mankind. :)

    LL - I would give FOrlan USD$4 million if I had that kind of cash lying around. I'd give it to any guy that attracts my attention... provided that he will offer the same kind of affection towards me in return. Love is a give and take :D

    Mr. GB - It's not so much *wanting* that's the human problem Mr. GB... it's wanting *what does not belong to you and willingly stepping on anyone to get it, with no regard for humanity* that's the real problem.
    As humans, we will always desire things, people, to go to places etc... but it's curbing that yearning so that it doesn't become wanton Greed thats the real challenge. And maybe a Gay Bar is the exception... but there are many other little exclusive gay societies that only serve to isolate rather than integrate :)

  6. Can I just say that the title of your linked post had me LAUGHING?! "The Root of All Evil....According to Azra." I don't know why it tickled me so. But you're right, it IS greed. Greed for more money, more power, more women, etc, etc, etc.

    Great! I thought it was only me, thinking that plus-sized models really DON'T look plus-sized. They look like your everyday generic model. It's insane how much the media is capable of controlling minds. It's all brainwashing propaganda in order to weed out whatever they think needs weeding out. But people need to stop and partake in some critical thinking.

    As for the assets thing, my oh my. D-Man and I had a discussion pre-wedding, but since we aren't super-rich celebrities with assets to protect, we pretty much left it at: "Should we divorce, we'll just go 50/50." Then I carefully added, "But should we divorce because you CHEAT, I get 75!!!" Muahahahaha.

  7. P.S. Thank you again for your incredible comment. I always look forward to hearing what you have to say. :)

    I always end up learning so much about history in SA from you, and I know that there is so much more to learn, good and bad. It saddens me to know that people can be so horrible to their own (even my sister-in-law was explaining about how Spaniards discriminate against one another!!! North vs. South, East vs. West, rich vs. poor, etc, etc, etc, the list goes on forever!) It's RIDICULOUS. Haven't people realized that it takes LESS energy to be nice to one another, and that it feels SOOOOO much better?

    Thanks again Azra, *hugs*!!

  8. um...was distracted by that model of gorgeousness stepping up out of the pool. whew
    right...real woman sizes are the reason i page through a magazine though i'd read one for the articles. i love clothes. the prettier the better, just not the clothes hangers called models. what happened to the ladies of the past? that amy lemon model looks like the model of the past. not plus side at all.what's scary is when watching tv, movies or paging through magazine ads, you catch yourself comparing and criticizing yourself without realising it. and before i get carried away: forlan's a fool to not accept your generous offer;)

  9. Michi - I agree, there should be penalties for cheating :D And I really hope you're feeling better about everything. It's amazing how people can live at opposite ends of the earth and still go through the same things. That's life and I suppose people are just people where ever you go :)

    Fathima - I like magazines too, and it's true, most of the time you end up comparing yourself unconsciously, to something that doesn't exist. And yes, Forlan is a mega fool. He doesn't realise that I have so much love to give - and all for free :D

  10. Regarding skinny models, yes they may be skinny but god what a miserable life having to live on cigarettes and carrot sticks. I'd be suicidal. No I'm happy eating muffins and pinching my muffin top. Curvy Vogue, well it's a baby step in the right direction!

  11. EmmaK - I'd rather die then not eat :) And yes I agree, I'd rather they have the Vogue Curvy than not have it at all.

  12. Well said! That Vogue had to create a special magazine to separate what for the most part is still "below average" sized women and call it "Curvy" is disheartening to say the least. I also agree that I'd rather die than not eat. I put in a lot of time on the treadmill ONLY so I can eat what I want. I am ok with it!

  13. Angie - I think the worst part is that we are judged cruelly and made to feel unworthy or "less than" for not adhering to these sick, twisted and absurd transparent societal norms. A lot in tune with what you've said on your blog :)