Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Brass Ring...

So Karl Lagerfeld slipped up and accidentally called Adele a fatty. And then he tried to backtrack and say that she may be fat but she still has a great voice. That’s like telling a woman that she resembles a donkey’s ass but that she shouldn’t worry because she still has pretty feet.

And then Adele hit back saying that she represents the majority of women and that she’s proud of that. Well she should be. I’m not sure that I could value such advice from someone who looks like he just stepped off Christopher Columbus’ ship dressed like Prince circa 1988, much less take him seriously.

I was looking at photos of plus sized model Tara Lynn recently and I couldn’t help but think that there is something so authentically beautiful about her. She looks like a real woman - for me anyway.
This has been a recurrent theme in my life in the past few weeks. I’ve been reading various articles that lead back to this topic and then today after work, they were discussing the issue on a talk show.

The thing about getting older is that there are certain things that you just cannot fight. For instance, I just cannot contend with the fact that gluten-free does not mean fat-free. And I’ve just had to accept that my body is changing in ways that I can’t control and that I will probably have to exercise religiously for the rest of my life.

I have also had to accept that as I get older, I put on weight easier and it’s much more difficult to lose. And  that with my hips, I will never be a size zero.

Here’s the clincher... I don’t want to be. I find that the older I get, the less I care about such things. I need to exercise for my stress levels and I enjoy it... but I do it more because I enjoy the idea of being fit rather than striving to be a size zero.
Having been in the UK and Europe a few times in the last few years, I know that they are much more health conscious then we are. South Africans LOVE food. It’s like some post-apartheid rite of passage. So on most occasions my trips abroad always left me feeling like what’s all the fuss about?

However, with my recent health issues, I know the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. But again, does healthy mean super-skinny? For most people, the answer would be yes. Although, I do notice a changing trend (however small a trend that may be). I for one will no longer be subscribing to an impossible ideal. I want to be fit, but I don’t want to be miserable for my entire life or kill myself doing it.
I want to be more content in my shell. And I’ve come to believe that at the end of it all, it wouldn’t matter because Mr. Right and I are going to have a lot of fun, no matter what we look like. I've discussed aspects of this once before and in many ways, it seems like this particular issue is coming full circle and the fat lady sings once again.

But in the back of my mind, I'm still quite befuddled by it all. I mean, there's obviously some pay-off for looking like a rake. What's with the skinny obsession? And is this really the male ideal?


  1. Great post. Being very thin is only healthy if that's your natural/genetic body type - it's fitness that should be aspired to. Seems like there's more of an acceptance and awareness of this principle (among women and men)today than there had been even 5-10 years ago.

  2. I have no comment when it comes to women's weight (I know better). However I do know what I prefer in women and it's not 'Rubenesque'.

  3. First of all, I've just woken up and you're the first one today to make me laugh out loud: 'That’s like telling a woman that she resembles a donkey’s ass but that she shouldn’t worry because she still has pretty feet.' Anyone who says women don't have a sense of humor should be sent to Siberia.

    That said, let me say a few other things. I agree with the picture showing those three women. The one on the left is way too skinny. The one in the middle is my favorite. The one on the right isn't too bad either. Just don't add a number four. I know, lot's of obese people around shouting their heads of trying to convince the world they believe they are beautiful and happy with the way they look. Utter nonsense. Any shrink knows. The louder people scream, the bigger the problem. A couple of days ago I discovered a hidden treasure in one of my cupboards: a heapload of candy. I threw it away. Why? Because I don't want to gain twenty pounds, is why. I once had a girlfriend who kept complaining about how fat she was. She drank two cans of coca cola each and every single day. So what I did was open the fridge and threw away her private stash. She looked at me like I was a total nutcase. Come to think of it.... I've never met a woman who didn't complain about her weight.

  4. Over here it seems to be that being anything over a size 8-10 means you are fat! Particularly with teens. It's ridiculous. They should all read the beauty myth. Women are supposed to be curvy and rubenesque and not look like boys.

  5. I suspect many women suffer from a mild form of anorexia. They know they are thinner than men like, but don't want to risk getting fat. Adele's body looks fertile, but her hair is definitely too fat.

  6. I think GB is probably closer to nailing it on the head than I've heard in a long time. While I meet the size of the middle picture, when I look in the mirror I see the one on the right. For a short period of time I was a version of the picture on the left and in the mirror I saw the middle picture.

    I do not binge eat, purge, or work my body to the point of exhaustion... but mentally I am more anorexic than I like to admit. Like GB, I believe many of us are.

    Azra... thank you for sharing this!

  7. TRR
    I agree, being ultra skinny is only acceptable if that is the natural body type. Any kind of excess is not good for the soul :)

    Likewise, not every woman wants a man with a pot-belly lol. People's preferences differ and for me health and fitness is a priority (I live by it!). I just don't think we should be setting ridiculous standards for everyone to live up to.

    I'm sure that there are people out there that are perfectly happy the way they are Randy. That's why I say leave them be.

    The problem with the world is that people aren't ready and willing to accept others as they are. Everyone is constantly "boxing" and "labelling" and when other people don't fit in those boxes and under those labels, we're quick to disregard their beliefs and ideologies - instead of respecting the differences and accepting them for who they are :)

    It's a pity that people have to spend their teens being subjected to such scrutiny- only to spend the next decade trying to undo all that psychological damage.

    I agree, Adele could lose a few pounds on her head. I reckon a healthy mind is a healthy body.

    I reckon it all comes down to self-esteem and self-confidence and I believe that it starts with self-respect, acceptance and self-love. Like I said, anything in excess is not good for the soul. People need to find middle ground :)

  8. Being healthy is definitely more important than being skinny. Sometimes though, no matter how good you feel, having to find clothes in L (for large just because you have curvier hips) is a bit of a bummer and does some damage to your self- esteem.

  9. I agree. We're like animals in that respect: when you're different, you're an outcast. Please leave our herd. But flip that coin and you will find that EVERYONE wants to be liked. Everyone wants to belong. Ticking boxes is who we are. It is what we do. All the time.

  10. Great post, as always.
    This is something I've always debated about with my guy friends. My ideal woman is #3 without a doubt. I like the healthy look. The guys prefer #2. Not surprisingly, nobody likes #1. I suspect not even #1 likes #1.
    I've picked up some weight over the last year, and while I thought it would freak me out, surprisingly I'm pretty comfortable with my slightly wider girth. I guess it's more important for me to feel healthy than it is for me to feel thin.

  11. I think focusing on being healthy, and not on being thin, is definitely the way to go.

  12. Salaams Azra,

    Great post as usual...I'm back on blogger so expect to see more of me :-)

  13. I think he should have kept his comments to himself.

  14. Terra Shield
    I do agree that struggling to find clothes that fit could put a few dents in the self-esteem. However, in a country like South Africa, where big bums are catered for, it's less of a problem. Still middle ground is what we all should be striving for ;)

    Yes, people tick boxes all the time. I guess my point is that people should be allowed their own preferences... they should be able to choose which box they want to be in without someone else telling them that their box isn't good enough ;P

    That's exactly how I feel. I think that if people are comfortable the way they are, who are we to judge?

    Personally, I'd aim to be between Woman #2 and Woman #3. Thing is, Woman #2 doesn't have BOOBS and HIPS. For some of us with BOOBS and HIPS, it's highly unlikely that we'd ever look like #2 even if we weighed LESS than her!

    :) For me, health is a priority. And part of being healthy is not being too overweight. So if I were to lose weight, it would be to maintain hormone levels rather than to fit into a size 2.

    The Cullinary Queen
    Welcome Back!! Nice to see you :)

    I think so too :)

    Thanks! :)

  15. I agree! The important message does need to be to strive to be healthy and fit, instead of starving yourself or not allowing yourself to indulge here and there. Besides, when you take care of yourself by eating naturally good foods, it shows in your skin and hair, and who doesn't love great skin and beautiful tresses? (P.S. I've started taking your olive oil advice!)
    Anyway, I think that the whole "skinny" trend started back in the 60s with Twiggy, and since she modeled worldwide and made an impact on modelling history, she definitely set a trend in what was considered female beauty (she did look a bit boy-ish, or like a pre-teen girl, at the height of her career). It definitely stuck over the decades, but thankfully we've recently had gorgeous, curvy women like Beyonce, J-Lo, and Adele to show us that beauty comes in all sizes. ;)

  16. Michi
    In one of my previous posts I spoke about how it has been hypothesised that the ultra-skinny frame was invented and is endorsed by Fashion Moguls - most of whom are Gay and have no concept of the feminine form...hence the reason they want every woman to have that adolescent-skinny-boy frame to fulfil their latent sexual fantasies. *sigh* Sometimes its exhausting to be a woman...

  17. Now that you say it - OMG. I think you're on to something, and I wouldn't be the tiniest bit surprised if it turned out to be entirely true.
    You're right, it can be VERY exhausting to be a woman, especially if you want to have it all. It's like my friend once said: "Society expects us to be superwomen all the time." And it's true. Men, just as much as our fellow women, expect us to always look good, be successful at our full-time jobs, have a clean house, be a great cook/baker, be naturally "sexy", and if there are children involved, be able to lose the baby weight as quickly as possible and be supermom on top of it all. What they don't realize is that those fantasy women...well, they either suffer from OCD, or get all the help they need. Like having a nanny (which means "me" time at the gym or mall), can hire a house-cleaning service (which of course saves on a lot of time), are actually terrible cooks and/or bakers but can afford to either eat out more than twice a week or have someone help them in the kitchen, and have a good amount of monetary support. Though we should hope they also get a lot of other support from their spouses.
    Ah, sometimes I feel like there is so much expected from our generation of women, and I lose sight and can't tell if it's good, or bad.

  18. Azra,

    As much as I believe this subject is way too popular, I think I will have to write a post on my blog and put in my two bits.

    This obsession with weight –whether we are obsessed with it or obsessed with trying to make people not obsess about it – is making all of us neurotic.

    What’s the purpose of physical appearance in human biology? It’s meant to announce your presence as a candidate for mating, to propagate the species. To this end, you, me, and them over there have an INTRINSIC level of attractiveness to someone else. You can be 80 pounds or 280 pounds and there will be someone who finds you desirable. Someone thinks somebody else is sexy no matter what.

    What is the purpose of physical appearance in culture? It is an expression of self, of origin, of society, and sometimes just for damn fun. It is a personal exploration of self, ideas, and creativity. Most of all it is a banner to proclaim this is who I am. If those who interact with us are wise, open minded, and tolerant they will incorporate who we are to enrich who they see themselves to be.

    The purpose and value of personal appearance is not found or relevant to a dress size or a waist size. Personal appearance should never be the deciding factor in the value of one person to another.

    Yet we persist in judging a person by the size of the clothes they wear and thereby infer the sum total of their virtue in association, friendship, and even romance.

    If we must be concerned with the weight of a person, let us be more concerned with whether their weight is proportional to their height as a reflection of their health. Lets allow them to be their normal and love them for the sum total of their heart and mind and not for an arbitrary measurement dictated by a small minded and myopic sub-culture.