You’ve come a long way baby?

“The sexiest girl on the beach just left. She had a book to return.”

The above is a poster that has gone viral on Facebook. I saw it three times yesterday, and one time today via Origins magazine, which stated they were to do a post regarding anorexia.

When I first saw the poster, I didn’t think too much of it until I started reading peoples’ comments. They became brutal; I kept my thoughts to myself. A bit later, I saw another batch of comments and became fed up. I responded. The poster was kind about it, but from his response, I could tell there was a defensive.

In America, we are of a society that places far too much importance on a woman’s appearance. This appearance is oft based on the body more than the face. Since Twiggy’s revolution of the 1960s, the perception of what is beautiful has morphed from the curvy decades prior. Balance went belly up when the runway modeling industry became quite vocal. By the 1980s, drug culture chic became the ideal and skinny again was in. Since the late 1990s, there has been an outcry to rethink what looks good. A woman, if she caters at all to popular culture, cannot win unless she is a yo-yo with an ability to be all shapes and size.

Certainly, attention to a woman’s body is nothing new. Tribal cultures world round have been documented to appreciate a woman of curves verses angles. One could attribute it to Darwin’s theory on survival of the fittest and natural selection. The more robust woman signals one of fertility, and ability to survive childbirth.

Beyond tribal culture, the world culture has still lauded the female curve. Historically, curves have represented biological fertility of a woman, as well as general well-being. Economics also came into play, the larger female signaling a healthy wallet, one whose family could afford an abundant feast.

Today, things have gone full circle. We are a black and white universe regarding health, wealth, and societal perception. On American soil, we are fighting a vast problem with obesity, which shall tax our health care system greater than smoking. (sidebar: I wrote a post about this on another blog I’ve since closed, ergo, I cannot link the facts.)

Sadly, in the same breath, I can write that America has children going to bed hungry because of lack of food. Globally, 925 million people went hungry in 2010. An ongoing problem that shouldn’t be in a world of two billion Christians whose motto is, “how can I be like Jesus?” One doesn’t have to conjure mystical powers, turning five fish into a feast. There should be enough power in action; the ability to raise money; raise crops; raise awareness to end this type of global hunger. End this cycle of indifference instead of focusing on whether starlets eat enough.

Is that why we care? Do we then question the poster because we fear the top row hungers? I will honestly tell you, I look a lot like the top row. I’ve been naturally thin all my life, but I also have a lifestyle that is athletic and I’m vegan. I only disclaimer this to be fair on my point of view. I’ve always thought Twiggy was terribly hip and cute. I’ve never understood what was the big deal about Marylin. You could say that my reasoning is psychological, albeit unconsciously, I’ve gravitated to the look that is more me naturally.

Marilyn did become appealing to me, however, months ago when I discovered, Fragments. This interesting book contains copies of Monroe’s thoughts, letters and poems. Did you know that this Hollywood starlet wrote poems? Did you know she was quite well read in general? Reading through her letters, I was aghast wondering, why do we not know this of her?

Yes, why do we not know this, but we can rattle off her measurements without blinking. Why can we name what the latest Hollywood starlet wore to the award show, but we couldn’t tell you if they have a college degree?

The above poster is wrong for several reasons. The one that concerns me most; the one I’ve not heard from anyone in the comment field on Facebook is this; why are we still objectifying women? We are in the 21st century debating which lineup of women is hotter. I’m sorry, but there is nothing wrong with either row of women in comparison to what is wrong with every one of us who looks at them and feels compelled to comment on their body.

Which row of women is hotter? How about the one who can actually carry on an intelligent conversation while condemning us for basing their sexiness on a bathing suit picture. ~

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  1. Another thought provoking post.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is what I have always thought. But what I find beautiful, the next person might not.

    950 million going hungry is a harrowing figure. As the worlds population grows steadily towards the 10 billion mark, this problem is only going to worsen.

    As in the USA, the UK is facing a severe problem of obesity in the coming decades. That western waistlines grow, while others starve is abhorrent to me.

    I was honestly the same waist at 44 yrs old as I was at 16. I am small, but have always been very active. When I fell ill, in the following 3 years, my weight has almost doubled because I am virtually inactive. For that, I detest the person [image] I have become.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Tino. I hope that as you stay on the mend, you’ll find a way to find yourself again. I started a consistant exercise regime after dealing with a very rough patch in my life. Exercise (running) actually allowed me, over time, (a couple of years) to be free of many ‘demons’. I’ve stuck with my lifestyle for so long out of habit, but more because I know it is my saving grace; my ticket to strength, both inside and out ~

  2. Personally, I never thought Twiggy, or Kate Moss, or anybody of that stripe was sexy in the least. On the other hand, I love Adele. She said, “I’d rather weigh a ton and make an amazing album, than look like Nicole Richie and do a shit album.” Imho, she looks great AND sings great.

    And yeah, Marilyn Monroe was a reader, as was Janis Joplin. Both of them created personas to give the public what it demanded, but that performing face was not their real face. I’m with you in as far as wondering why their genuine depth was perceived as something to be hidden from fans. I think they are both more interesting as themselves.

    • I very much appreciate your stopping by and commenting, FB.

      Your comment had me thinking about Adele’s comment. Adele’s comments seems to infer that size would influence a person’s vocal performance. The more I thought about it, I thought, she has a point. Not in the manner in which it is taken, for if Adele and Nicole both eat what their body needs, either one will have to endurance to produce a good album IF they are a good singer in the first place. Adele probably has such a rich voice, though, because she has a larger frame which allows for a wider rib cage and expansive lungs. (I’m just guessing here, but it makes sense to me as I think of opera singers whom I enjoy that have the same rich sound).

      So many times, it seems, the true personality gets hidden. I wonder if that is more the person wishing for privacy, or the agent who says, your true identity would kill a certain image…~

  3. I am Not on fb so didn’t know about this pic – viral thing – My View on beauty ……..Stick with what Your genes say – Don’t strive to be something other than is in your natural – make up ….
    When a woman looks at her genetics – it’s a pretty good indication……
    Some of us ……are Thought to be too skinny ……whatever – and there is discrimination from all sides .


    • Your advice is sage, Cat. It is frustrating, indeed. I’ve learned over time that everyone has an opinion and I shall never win. It is amazing to me, too, what peeps think is ‘okay’ to say regarding skinny. I’d never hear the same words if I were heavy. ~

      • PEOPLE ARE mean either way ———And I HOPE HOPE HOPE – the Pendulum Swings Back ——- Marilyn – Yeah !!!!!
        In some societies – SKINNY MEANS YOU ARE RICH …… In some Voluptuousness Means You have wealth –
        But these are First world countries ……… You know …….

        I think about those whom DON’T have enough To eat ……
        That’s The real issue .
        That’s the REAL World ..

        “3rd World” countries Are The Real World ….

        I have modeled before and you know what – It’s a cruel world of exploitation .
        That’s just my view .
        I was Put on the Runway at 4 years old because my Grandmother worked in the Fashion Industry and what i witnessed and experienced was not and will never be the Real world . And when i came out of my Blind Closet ——- in 2010 – Everyone freaked ,….I lost my right eye – for 9 months – and when it came back to it’s original 20/400 …..which i had told almost no one about – well – I really Grew into a woman – However painful that year and 2011 were…….

        I grew into my real self ———— BRAINS AND HEART AND SOUL are the most beautiful qualities – if one can call those qualities – I guess ! We all see things different ways —- right ?

        Sure Beauty —– in all its capacity is wonderful …….
        To embrace what makes someone beautiful is HEART connected ….I so believe this …..
        But for me the question in my tiny little microcosm of life is WHY CAN’T A WOMAN be pretty and brainy and soulful all at the same time .
        Why do people compartmentalize ?
        again sorry for the LENGTHY REPLY —– But You have tapped a passionate nerve in me that wants to be activated for the Little ones – The teenagers whom are dysmorphic .

        The body is a temple – or it can be a cage …….
        depends on where we come from – in all respects – our environment – our social make up – our genetics – our economy or lack there of …….our upbringing —— it’s all cumulative .

        so —— don’t read magazines little girls …….
        and don’t let people tell you what you are- or what you should be like –or do – seriously !!!! Only You know what you are ——


      • I’m glad that my post is a sounding board for you, Cat! You’ve a passion because you’ve seen, felt, and experienced the ugliness. You realize the dangers.

        The only thing I will disagree with you on is to return to Marilyn. I wish to move BEYOND Marilyn OR Twiggy. It is 2012. Women vote. Women are heads of corporations. Women are heads of state. Women are President (well, not here…). When are we going to let a women’s worth be not of her dress size, but her capacity/ability to think?

        Keep talking, keep blogging, and let those young minds see the error of factions of society regarding what is important. You’re correct, only we can say who we are or who we will be. We must have the strength and conviction to believe in our own truths in order to survive the jungle ~

      • ————- I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN WITH THE MARILYN THING – but in all honesty ——– human beings – compare ——-
        that’s the nature – and when i think of teenagers looking at images of Twiggy or Marilyn – and there are more “Iconic ” women out there — of course – but especially when we are younger and PUSHED with images and archetypes ……..
        YEs There will be a woman President one day …..
        Of course – I want to believe this .
        But for the human beings that need the comparison thing and cannot realize the AUTONOMY of one single beautiful flower and its UNIQUENESS in all its capacities …….
        I would rather they “Look ” at Marilyn …….

        My resolution for 2012 was and IS – LIVE OUT LOUD ……On my blog – There is an image of a snowflake – we are all the same – yet SO UNIQUE …………
        I am in my 30′s now – and i sooooooooo don’t care what people think of my physicality anymore .
        you can never get IT RIGHT .
        It’s an exercise in FUTILITY to “please ” .

        But in concluding – Cuz i am taking up all your space in here ! LOL /…….Human beings need to compare ……….
        why – i don’t know …….

        thx again for the great blog post ……
        and You know what is so uncanny —— I deal with these issues every day – and i hope to one day —- whether it be by Book or talk – or music – talk to little girls and teenagers about this …….
        BEST TO YOU

  4. I hate this about our culture. It gets worse for women as they get older, far worse than for men. We need to reexamine not only our ideas of beauty but also our attitudes towards older people. Beauty may “be in the eye of the beholder” but that doesn’t change the fact that there are legions of marketers out there working very hard to create standards of taste. People like to make fun of advertising but it’s undeniable that appetites are constantly being created where they may not have existed before. It has to be combated. Thanks for your post.

    • Thank you, Mark. I know you’ve been busy, so it means a lot you’ve taken the time to comment. I agree. How do we fight it? Actually, I believe popular mags are the worse. I see so many of them at the library, and am amazed at the cover shots…what sells, who sells, etc. ~

  5. I agree, Angela.

    What good is a book with an attractive cover . . . if there’s nothing worth reading in its pages?

  6. Thanks for the comment… if I am going to spend the money on an iPod, I will be putting it in a ziplock bag also… O.K, maybe just a good case… But you never know


  7. Androgoth

     /  2012/01/23

    One always says that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that could be true, but I believe that the emphasis on being thinner has just escalated out of control, I mean for me personally the curvier looking female is far more attractive to the eye, and whatever the shape, slim or curvy or whatever stereotype one wishes to add to that, a woman’s beauty is always there inside to admire.

    Curvy is best I think but after saying that a woman that is slim is equally as attractive and one should never add labels to achieve a so called better appearance of what one should look like just because of the fashion industry, modelling and the like. I am sorry for waffling on with this observation my friend but for me the above picture says it all, and the lower section of women certainly appeal, well they do to me anyway…

    Have a wonderful Tuesday :)


  8. A seriously scary observation. c


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