Saturday, August 17, 2013

Aphrodite Didn't Have a Thigh Gap

I think that it is safe to say that we are all aware of the fact that "skinny" is in. "Skinny" has been in for quite a while. I will let others write on how un fair it is to the curvy girls out there, how unhealthy it is to be skinny, why Kate Moss is evil, etc. etc. I am not all that interested in those subjects because I believe that all God's creatures are beautiful and that if you were born with it, baby, flaunt it. If that means you were born to be a size 0, girl go get your self some skinny jeans. But for the majority of us, that means that we were born with, well, a little extra meat on us. (I will also here avoid all topics regarding unnatural skinniness, as that could get controversial. and I would not like that). I would like only to talk about the historical context of this *tiny* phenomenon. It is funny isn't it, that for years and years, hundreds, thousands of years, what was considered beautiful was plumpness, roundness, and paleness. This was the case because for hundreds, thousands of years to be plump, round, and pale meant that you were privileged enough to not work outside, you had people to do the work for you. You were able to have a life of luxury away from hardships. You could also afford food to make you plump and round, and we all know good food can be a bit pricey–just go try to find a nice, affordable lobster dish, and ps, it isn't in Bangkok. Here is the basic syllogism, fat woman=well fed woman, well fed woman=rich woman, rich woman=attractive woman, therefore, fat woman=attractive woman. There you have it, being curvy means you get to eat, you're rich, and attractive. Sounds good, right? Well sadly that all changed around the industrial revolution, and especially in the early part of the 1900's. When in the past being skinny and tan meant that you had to work outside all day, that was not too appealing; when it meant that you didn't have to work inside at a sewing machine all day, well then it became a bit more alluring. Then along came Coco (Chanel of course, darling) who made the flapper girl all the rage and all of a sudden round and plump was out and skinny and twiggy was in, as seen in The Great Gatsby. And it has stayed that way. After thousands of years of embracing the curves, society decided to throw rulers at all of us and expect us to transform, which ain't gonna happen. But you know what? I am perfectly happy being a pale girl with a bit more rounded-out parts (okay, I'm curvy.) because, if Aphrodite didn't have a "thigh gap", I don't see any reason I need to have one.
Let us take a moment to celebrate the classical beauty of history
(some content may not be appropriate for children: some nudity)
The Birth of Venus
Madame Grand (Noël Catherine Verlée, 1761-1835),
 Later Madame de Talleyrand Périgord, Princesses de Bénévent
by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le brun

Nymphs and Satyr
by William Bouguereau

Reclining Naiad
by Antonio Canova
by Boucher
I don't think any of these girls would have looked quite so beautiful, and would not be hanging in famous museums, if they had boney shoulders and you could see their ribs. It is their joyful roundness, youthful paleness, and womanly curviness that makes them so fabulous as subjects for art.
So whenever you may be feeling down about how you look, put down the magazine full of itsy bitsy models and go look at some different, older art, and be reminded that beauty has many forms.


1 comment:

  1. I think it is an interesting comment on our society when you look at how companies have changed sizes on clothes. When I was in my teens and twenties, a million years ago, a size 10 was what girls aspired to be. That size 10 would now be a 6. Why? So women who used to be a 10 can now say they are a 12 when by old standards they are more like a 16. Clothing manufacturers want to make women feel like they are still small instead of the curvy selves that they are. Who are they fooling? Or are we just fooling ourselves?