What’s going on, everybody?
Today, I want to talk about something that I keep seeing on Facebook and various places on the Internet: it’s something that I like to call the “Curvy Women Campaign.” I’ve seen a few pictures and posts about women saying things like “Real men like curves,” and “Only dogs go for bones,” and they post a picture of a who looks surprisingly decent to sub-par. I wanted to take this time to talk about the “Curvy Women Campaign,” though I am going to analyze both sides of the argument, I’m not going to bash anyone, nor will I supplicate for anyone either.
Now, with that said, let’s go ahead and discuss this phenomenon, shall we?
First, let’s talk about the women themselves doing it. From what I’m led to believe, the “Curvy Women Campaign” started with women who, disconcerted with few women that look like them in the public eye, rallied against mainstream media, stating that they wanted to see more women that looked like them. I remember reading about Seventeen vowing to show images of real girls and models who looked “healthy” a while ago. Perhaps these women criticized these magazines because ladies everywhere developed low self-esteem and eating disorders because they weren’t perceived as being attractive enough by mainstream media or by men. Within recent years, many other “All women are beautiful” campaigns have popped up; Dove was another company that jumped on the bandwagon.
I think that this is a good thing; I think that every woman should feel comfortable in her own skin.
However … as one might predict, I have some issues with this “movement.”
For starters, I think that men and women don’t agree with what “curvy” actually means. According to my dictionary, when referring to a woman’s body, the word curvy means “shapely and voluptuous.”
Voluptuous … that’s another word I hear thrown around readily. It’s synonymous with curvy, meaning “curvaceous and sexually attractive.”
There are many terms that are somewhat ambiguous like that. Curvy, voluptuous, healthy, shapely, full-figured, stacked, Rubenesque, a few extra pounds, thick … I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting, but that’s most of them, I think.
For starters, I have to say that some of the movement attacks women who have slender builds. When you have slogans like “Real men like curves, only dogs like bones,” that becomes an affront to slim women. Why do the “curvy” women feel the need to (subliminally) diss women who weigh less than them just so they can feel better. Also, why is it that when men say they like heavier women and say they’re the best in the world, the plus-size women applaud but the skinny women don’t get mad?
This is parallel to the light skin vs dark skin debate in the Black community. For some reason, in our community, lighter-skinned women are deemed more attractive than darker women, and for men, I would assume darker-skinned men are more attractive, but every so often, a woman will want to mate with a lighter-skinned male to produce children who have “pretty hair.” (We’ve all heard a Black woman say this at some point.)
A while ago, I posted “I love dark-skinned women. They’re the best in the world” as a Facebook status a while ago, and that became one of my most well-liked statuses. Now, when I said, “They’re the best in the world” I automatically stated that light-skinned women were inferior. When I received a large enough number of Likes, I asked the women why it was okay to throw light-skinned women under the bus to make dark-skinned women feel better?
I’m sure if I wrote “I love light-skinned women. They’re the best in the world” they’d label me a self-hater, colorist, and so on. But saying dark-skinned women are better than light-skinned women is okay?
It’s the same thing with the curvy vs. skinny debate. I’m sure that if I were to go on Facebook and write “I love curvy women, they’re the best in the world,” I’m sure there would be a plethora of women that click the like button. However, if I wrote “I love skinny women, they’re the best in the world,” women left and right would accuse me of being shallow. So it’s okay to like the group that isn’t considered attractive, and denigrate the group that is, that’s okay, but if you like what’s normally attractive, and denigrate the group that isn’t, that’s a problem. Isn’t that technically a Double Standard? I’m confused.
Next, I want to ask … what exactly is curvy? I think that when men and women hear the word “curvy,” they think two different things. This female blogger has a good understanding of what men mean when they say “curvy.” When we think curvy, we generally mean a woman with an “hourglass” shape. Here are some examples:
A woman has an “hourglass” if she has large breasts, wide hips, a small waist and a flat stomach. Many men consider the hourglass shape the most attractive female form. This article provides reasons why. So while men do indeed love curves on a woman, they still want a woman who has a little fat on her and a healthy appearance.
When women think of the word “curvy,” they have something different in mind. They usually believe women like the ones below are curvy:
Needless to say, a man’s definition of a “curvy woman” and a woman’s definition are vastly different.
Most of the time, when a woman refers to herself as curvy, she’s actually not; she’s really … well, obese. And words like “fat” or “obese” often have negative connotations, while curvy is a little more positive, so it’s understandable why women would shy away from the label, but as men, we know what’s up when a woman calls herself curvy, voluptuous, a big beautiful woman, etc.. Perhaps this is why most men aren’t adamant about dating a woman who claims to be these things.
Even worse, sometimes, larger women tend to have sassy demeanors. I’m sure most men can point out that the most attitudinal (read:belligerent) women were overweight. Even in my life, the most combative women were all large. Not all, but most. Here’s Tariq Nasheed dealing with a “plus-size” woman on his show:
I have no idea why larger women are sassier, though. Perhaps an expert on game or female psychology can fill me in on that one.
Moving on, many curvy women use Marilyn Monroe as one of their icons, using her to prove that men like curves. The problem is that Marilyn Monroe isn’t nearly as curvy as many larger women make her out to be. Her measurements, according to one of the dress makers in the article, were 35-22-35. That’s a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.63. And, the average waist size of a woman in the 1950s was 25″ compared to now, which is 34″. So when you think about it, Marilyn Monroe wasn’t that much bigger than women in her own time, and if she was alive now, she’d be petite.
Another curvy woman, Kate Upton, graced the cover of magazines and the Internet in 2012. Here’s her picture:
Not a bad-looking girl. Anyway, her measurements, according to Wikipedia are 33-25-36, a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.69.
Now, there’s another “curvy” woman who’s starting to get attention named Mikel Ruffinelli. Check out her picture below:
She’s the proud owner of the largest hips in the world. Her hips are eight feet wide (!). She’s quoted as saying, “I love my curves, I love my hips I love my attributes, I love being unique.”
Now, it’s good for a woman to value herself, but when she’s 5’4″ (really, any height) and has a shape like that, that’s problematic. She’s definitely obese, but yet, she has no problem with that.
She’s also released a twerk video, which I’ll post below:
… *sigh* Let’s just move on.
As many of us have heard, obesity is a serious problem in America, with 35.7% of American adults affected. According to wedmd, women are more likely to be obese than men are, just because of the differences in our metabolic rate (this may explain why men can eat 500 more calories than women, for those of you who look at your nutrition facts.) Now, some people weigh more than others just because of genetics, and that’s nothing we can do anything about. However, there are a few things that people do to make themselves this heavy: little to no exercise, consuming unhealthy food, drinking alcohol, living high stress-lifestyles (in some cases, we can’t do anything about that), and so on.
The “curvy women campaign” to me, seems like women who are overweight and have no desire to change their lifestyle, so they seek to change society around them. I can understand that we shouldn’t make fun of them; I don’t believe in making fun of anyone for being overweight—I was large in elementary school, but as I grew and started eating better, I slimmed down, and now I’m actually underweight, I think: I’m 21 years old, 5’9.5″, and 133 pounds. I plan to do some weightlifting to build some muscle, because I think I could use a little more mass, actually. Many women told me I’m too skinny for them (some joked that they would break me in half).
But all joking aside, I don’t like something about myself, and instead of asking “why don’t women like skinny men?” I’m exercising and trying to build muscle. Now, because of genetics (I’m an ectomorph), building muscle won’t be easy, but I’m at least trying to get healthier/more muscular, even if that means paying extra money to buy healthier food. And that’s not just for women; that’s for me; I want to have a long, fulfilling life. That, and I don’t trust our medical system.
Many people don’t wish to make those changes. They say they don’t have time/energy to exercise, and sometimes, you may not, but you have to make time. I’m still trying to set up a schedule for me to exercise, but soon, I’m going to get back to working out three times a week. Also, some people say that healthy food costs much more than cheap food, but I can tell you this: with all the diseases obesity can lead to, it’s much more expensive than the extra dollars you’ll spend on groceries.
In conclusion, if women accepting themselves for who they are doesn’t involve denigrating skinny/in-shape women, and it’s all about being happy with who you are, while promoting a healthy lifestyle (with some junk food every now and then), and not shaming men for liking women that have a certain body proportion, then sure, I’ll co-sign it.
However, if the movement seeks to shame skinny women, promote eating junk food in abundance, and forcing men to like large women, which they don’t normally like, then I can’t say I approve.
But that’s just me. Men and women, what do you think about the “Curvy Women Campaign?” Leave your thoughts below.
(P.S: I know someone’s going to get on me about using pictures of white women in this. I could have used Black women, but most of the women with 0.7 or lower waist-to-hip ratios that I know of are the “urban models,” and I don’t think that’s what ya’ll want to see—at least not the women, anyway. If it’s that big of a problem, I can go look for some in shape Black women if you want, but to me, the women’s ethnicities are irrelevant; it’s the message. Besides, there are large white women there too.)