Hey Chicago ladies: tonight I'm going to be speaking at Chicago Women in Publishing if you want to come check me out. How DO I do it?
Speaking of women, yesterday I was reading my favorite gossip site and saw a post about a gorgeous plus-sized model. You don't have to worship at the altar of size acceptance to acknowledge that this is a beautiful woman. She's a model! She has unfairly beautiful skin, hair, cheekbones, lips, and so on. She looks like the second coming of Brooke Shields in the Calvin Klein days. This model happens to weigh more than some people and most models but that's pretty irrelevant to the fact that she gets paid to look good.
Of course, the comments on the post ranged from reverential to positive to lukewarm and then the inevitable "OMG I would be so unhappy to have a body like hers" or "I'd rather be ugly than fat" and of course, "The only reason people find her attractive is because they're fat like she is."
In some ways I think this sort of hating is a good thing, because all the women in the land, tall, short, thin, fat, ugly and pretty need to just get used to the fact that there are a selection of women out there who get paid for how they look while the rest of us never will. Beauty at every size is a good philosophy but I like to think of it more as "unfairness at every size." The typical model frame doesn't represent most females but aside from the body, the typical model face also doesn't represent most women. Hell, sometimes the typical model face doesn't even represent most models: we've all seen those who tried to smize and failed.
I happen to be thinner than this particular model. But I am also shorter, wrinklier, dimplier and not as striking. Am I going to rail about how it's unfair that the big girls are setting a beauty standard that's "dangerous," one that we shouldn't have to feel pressure to adhere to? (Sound familiar?) No, I'm going to keep trying to make the most of what I've got and continue with my life. I can't beat them or join them but I can just enjoy looking at the pretty pictures and know that while it might be unfair that I'm not so beautiful that I can profit from it, I have a lot of other things going for me. My philosophy is, big or small, it's model's job to be beautiful, and those of us who are not models need to embrace the fact, not cry over it, that we are not held to those same standards. We're not models! We're everything else.
I guess a mean part of me could say, "Well, now it's the skinny girls' turn get to be mad that somebody who has a different body type from them is considered beautiful by the fashion industry," but it would benefit us just to move past it. "Big vs. small," "real vs. fake," a visual read on "healthy vs. unhealthy" is so tedious, ladies. This is why we are so underrepresented when it comes to power in this country, because we waste so much time debating what is really beautiful and really real and really healthy and so on. Do you think men sit around talking about this stuff?
A woman in a magazine whose body resembles or doesn't resemble yours is not going to suddenly make you more beautiful by extension. Don't get me wrong: I think a wider physical variety of women in fashion is great but it's not as if they're going to start picking women off the bus stops and putting us, warts and all, in the pages of the magazines. The women in the magazines will always be something to aspire to, because that's what they're all about. It's not as if suddenly you're going to look at Vogue, see a woman who looks just like you and realize that Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld think you're gorgeous and you finally can feel like your existence is worthwhile and all the good things you deserve for being Officially Beautiful will fall into your lap.
If we can all just agree that big or small, some women got dealt the good genetic hand and benefit from it and that it's not fair but that's OK, we can free up our brains for so much more useful stuff. Like, where can I find a pair of jeans that make my ass look that good?