Today to be "seen" as acceptable a woman has to be: young - slim (if not skinny); svelte (with no bumps or curves); sexy (what exactly is sexy?) and most importantly young.
How has this come about? What has changed from the 1950s ,,,,,,?
A lot happened. Firstly the 1960s brought about a swing in attitudes - of life as well as behaviours. The fact that Jean Shrimpton wore a knee length shift (dress) at the Melbourne Cup, WITHOUT a hat or gloves (oh, dear! what was the world coming to?) caused loud headlines in the press. But that's too easy to say that her decision to wear an outrageous dress - for the era that is - caused the change in attitudes to women's shapes and sizes. But it certainly was one of the factors that started the ball rolling.
We all shortened our hemlines. We lowered our necklines. Everything was free and easy. But for the plump and curvaceous woman, that was also the start of an inherent and growing animosity towards the way SHE looked. Size discrimination rose to greater heights and it became apparent in film, television, the media per se. Women's magazines took on the role of telling their readers to diet, to undergo cosmetic surgery, to attend the latest and very expensive gyms in order to attain the lean, sleak bodies of more naturally slim women. They didn't tell their readers that it was OK to be a different size or shape and that all sizes could be considered normal or typical. Manufacturers began to treat the curvaceous woman with scorn and retailers hid clothes for her size in a tiny section at the back of the department store. It took many years for "plus-size" suppliers to come out of the woodwork.
So that's where the whole thing went haywire. For all women are NOT fundamentally the same shape or are meant to be the same size. Women were told they HAD to diet; they did and many did far more damage to their bodies and minds through yo-yo dieting over decades than they could have imagined. Somebody forgot to tell them that genes play a bit part in their body makeup (in fact it was only recently that the medical people have acknowledged this to be true - it was argued about heatedly in previous decades.)
What happened next? Suddenly eating disorders became prominent. A whole new industry was born whereby people were counselled about disorders in their eating behaviours. The human body, and mind, suffered serious consequences. Not only women but men and children are affected. In all age groups.
What am I trying to say? I'm saying it's about time we realised that the world is made up of people who look different, who have differnent shapes and sizes, and we should recognise and respect each other unconditionally.
(I'm not talking here of those who are addicted to non-stop eating, or eating inappropriate foods until they really do become medically and dangerously obese. Nor am I talking about those people whose bodies react violently to the medications they may be taking.)
Let's join in the protest (albeit quietly but determinedly)
that ALL women's bodies and shapes should be
celebrated, no matter what age, size or shape ©.