There was a time (before the 1800s) when a
woman of physical substance was considered a beauty and it was also a sign of affluency.
Still today, there are many cultures, that are not in the western world, that view this type of woman as a sign of good health
and even vitality.
Somewhere on our journey to progress beauty became something different. In 1840, Sylvester Graham, Presbyterian minister, began a personal campaign to change the way women ate. He preached a plain diet for women as the key to health and he tied morality to abstinence in eating. "Spices, stimulants and other over indulgences lead to indigestion, illness, sexual excess and civil disorder," Graham preached. "Grahamites," (the name for his followers) ate mostly bread made of coarse graham flour as well as vegetables and water.
After the Graham period, along about 1860,
another diet became popular and it promoted
lower weight over higher. The Banting diet
became popular and had striking similarities
to modern day Atkins diet with its
promotion of more protein in our diet.
At the end of this century, if you were
overweight (even by a little) you were
considered obese and looked down upon.
Unfortunately, the American path
of weight for women traveled to unhealthy limits with the Twiggy era. The thinner you were,the healthier you were
perceived to be. With the discovery of the
calorie, the body weight scale for the home, and the push to be thin, eating disorders surfaced and the way women perceived their bodies began to become distorted.
The size of a woman's body became more
important that the subtance of the woman's
character. While the average woman (non-model) is substantially larger than those of the women on magazine covers and ads promoting products, thinness is still perceived as more beautiful. But by who?
If you ask most men, they will say that every woman has her own beauty and they look deeper than skin for a woman's beauty. There are some men who are obsessed with a woman's body appearance and the character of the woman is of little importance. So, if the majority of men look at the whole package, then why are women starving themselves to the point of being unhealthy to look like that model on that men's magazine? I know it's hard to believe, given the messages that the media puts out to us, but men are not as superficial as we have been led to think they are...there are a few, but the majority are not.
If you ask most women, they will tell you that men don't want women who are over a size 6. Consider this, the size of the average woman in the United States is 14. A size 14 is not fat and should not be considered plus size and yet, plus size starts at size 12. Seriously? Size 12? No wonder we have a problem with self image, confidence, and healthy eating. Many times in her life, Marilyn Monroe wore a size 12 and no one would call her fat. Most men found her curvy body beautiful.
"According to researchers,
94% of females on television are thinner than the average women in the United States."
- Wikipedia article The Thin Ideal
"Women's magazines focus mainly on "domestic" aspects of life,
including marriage, child-rearing, beauty, etc.
More than 75% of women’s magazines include at least one ad or article
about how to change their physical appearance
by diet, exercise, or cosmetic surgery.
Twenty-five percent of the magazines contained messages
regarding weight loss and dieting suggestions.
Many women's magazines focus on how to lead a better life
by improving physical appearance,
while men's magazines provide information
about hobbies, activities, and entertainment.
When women are constantly exposed to ways to alter their appearance,
they may over-internalize and feel pressure to look like the images they see.
The analyses of images in women's magazines
observed from 1901 to 1980 and
from 1959 to 1999
show that the featured models have become thinner over time,
making the thin ideal even more difficult to achieve."
- Wikipedia article The Thin Ideal
Today, almost 100 years later, we are still struggling with this problem created by Minister Graham. What is fat and what is healthy? What is the difference in being fat and being a plus size? Why is being thin a goal? Why not healthy as a goal?
In recent years, the acceptance of the plus size model has become accepted as beauty...natural beauty. A few companies have developed ad campaigns directed at the plus size woman and they use plus size models to promote their products. ("Dove" soap, body washes, and moisturizers being one of the most well known.)
If you look at any of these ads, you will see beautiful women who look healthy and strong. Plus size models such as Ashley Graham, Saffi Karina, Jennie Runk, Gabi Gregg, Barbie Ferreira, Tess Holiday, Nadia Aboulhosen, just to name a few, are making headlines and changing the way the world see women. ( see www.mtv.com/news/2228102/plus-size-victorias-secret-models/ )
There are several beautiful models that are over age 50 you should check out such as Yasmina Rossi (56), Daphne Selfe (84), Lauren Hutton (70), China Machado (83), Pia Gronning (64) and many others. While there may be a few, I will dare to say that most of the top models over 50 years of age are not a size 6 or smaller.
So, as you get older and a little extra weight accumulates, don't fret or feel less than the beautiful woman you are. Concentrate on being healthy. Be healthy by eating healthy, exercising or moving more, and smile...keep the positive attitude.
Make sure you make your regular check ups with your doctor and focus on living, not your weight or what the world tells you that you should look like. Love yourself where you are today. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Some day in the near future I will share with you how I learned that lesson.
In the meantime, get up and move - go walk, dance, just get up and move! Eat foods that nourish your body - after a while you will crave healthy food and the unhealthy food won't be calling your name (as much anyway)! And smile and be happy! Your attitude about life affects how you look and feel. Be positive!
The original question to this blog was Fat or Plus Size? Which one are you? Well,
I say Plus Size and proud of it. I am healthy,
I look pretty good for a woman my age,
I feel good, and I am happy. Fat is a word reserved for what you cut off the edge of your meat or skim from the top of your milk.
Fat is a negative and I don't have room for negative in my life now.
I am Plus Size!
No skinny minnie here! 🙂
How do you see yourself when you look in the mirror? Do you compare yourself to other women? You shouldn't, you know. Every woman is made different and every woman is uniquely beautiful. Do you stand tall and walk with confidence? You should, you know. You are a special woman, you have lived long enough to know things, you have value beyond your body size. Do you get negative image thoughts from time to time? What do you do to fight those negative image thoughts when they creep into your mind?