Talking about fashion’s body image debate just two days ago, a new guy writer friend told me: ‘Anne, most of these guys hate women? They’re not into you at all, except for the money you put in their coffers. You’re just not their sexual cup of tea, dear. Or political either. There’s a high-ranking Republican gay elite in Washington politics — parading around with wives, of course. They scorn women and all you stand for. Anne, they want a man’s world, just like Aristotle wanted. Your vagina gets you nowhere, baby. ‘
This man’s words stung but rang true to me. So who owns fashion — them or us — the girls buying all the stuff? Politics is much more complicated, but women should be able to manage our own closets. If we can’t keep our own beauty ideals under control, what makes us think that we even deserve the corner office?
Thin and Extinct
Personally, I have no interest in seeing my species become extinct. And yet when the ideal woman to a certain group of men has no breasts, no hips and a BMI that causes her to stop menstruating and therefore bearing children, I’m forced to ask: how then are women different from the slim little designer guys in their tight pants?
It’s simple: I say buy no baubles or any other product from any designer or fashion editor who believes that the ideal woman looks like a thin man. Articulating these principles last December, today I’m adamant about them.
My view is not contra the reality that many tall, thin women with no bustline or hips do represent one gorgeous arm of womanhood. In what’s our #2 article for two weeks, I honor Ralph Lauren model Ubah Hassan, but I do not aspire to her body type.
Yes, I’ve struggled like so many American women to love the person in the mirror, but I never wanted to look like a non-Somali version of Ubah. Personally, I like my curves.
Fashion should embrace all body types, but the ultimate idea and exclusive aspirational image for the world’s women should not be a female who is no longer capable of childbearing.
Simply stated, the patriarchy has gone too far and they will continue to undermine the confidence of women — especially American women — until we take control of our bodies once and for all.
Yes, we’ve seen some relief on the fashion front since the Ralph Lauren Photoshop debacle, but just last week Julien McDonald says there’s no place for breasts and derrieres in fashion modeling. for once, I say “off with HIS head.”
##### Original Article, Dec 2009
Lara Stone: The Fat Girl
Lara Stone’s talks about being the ‘fat girl’ in this month’s issue of American Vogue.
Having written about this body image debate for months, I’ve stated my view of our insane American conversation about the ‘ideal woman’.
The uniquely gorgeous Dutch Lara Stone is 5’10” and an American size four. In today’s world of modeling — forget Crawford, Seymour, Turlington, Campbell and that 80s supermodel crew — Lara Stone is considered to be fat.
Almost by definition, you won’t have breasts as a size 0. One good piece of news about the Vogue interview is that writer Willy Vanderperre admits that breasts are a problem in today’s modeling world.
This fashion fault was not always the case, as one look at Naomi Campbell’s body tells you. The best conversations coming out of the Ralph Lauren photoshop debacle is that women like Cindy Crawford are saying loud and clear that they couldn’t make it in today’s fashion world either.
All those icons … off with their heads. They are fat, too. Their fat-mommie bodies are kaput, bad news, gross, gross, gross for fashion!
Ladies, this arrogant insanity must stop. Who does these (mostly guys) think they are?
Fashion Body Image Rehab
Step 1 in American body image rehab: admit the reality of the problem. Breasts are bad in fashion. FYI, hips and a gorgeous derriere are also a problem.
Until science makes robotic andoids of women walking the runway, today’s fashion designers are stuck with the reality that real women have curves. For a model like Stone they aren’t the result of eating too many potato chips, as the Kaiser suggests.
It’s called female DNA and the problem is genetic.
If designers had the nerve to just use gay guys on the runway, we might all get a breather from the stupidity of trying to be what Mother Nature denies us. I say that women don’t want to be men, but who’s listening to me. (Quite a few, I must say. LOL)
No wonder American women are schizoid. In the world of fashion, curves are forbidden. But in the world of porn … Which girl do you want to be today, ladies?
Step 2 in American body image rehab: survey other relevant messages. The world of digital porn is so integrated into America’s daily life that the guy across the negotiating table is probably sizing you up, comparing your ‘rack’ to the Hegre girls on his iPhone. (Sorry, Hegre didn’t cooperate today, delivering us a bottoms up photo, which I’ve modified for our viewing pleasure.)
Trust me, ladies. We’re being judged against this gorgeous babe during business meetings. Why do you think guys check their Blackberrys and iPhones 30 times an hour? LOL. Nice try, guys! xoxo
To be his ideal woman, you must serve up 34Ds at a minimum, or you’re not in the sexual fantasy ballgame. Hence, the Victoria’s Secret bombshell bra, which allows you to fake him out, until you end up in bed.
And then … well, I say you’re a bundle of nerves, and he might be understandably pissed for your little ‘bombshell deception’. You just fulfilled every conniving woman fantasy nightmare in his memory. Not to worry, you can take an antidepressant and sort it all out in the morning.
The likes of Lauren and Lagerfeld admittedly say their clothes look better on coathanger women. Having breasts destroys the look of the garment.
By contrast, in the world of ‘real sexy’, you need some vavavoom in your bazooms. Considering that breast implants have tripled in the last decade, I sense that porn is winning the ‘ideal woman’ beauty debate.
This nonsense is particularly acute for American women, because we are pleasers — the good girls.
The Sanity of French Women
French women are known for being individuals with a certain ‘je ne sais quois’, translated a whole lot of independent style attitude. You know the French are radical — with their impossibly haughty, confident attitudes, French women don’t believe they need ‘fixing’.
Les femmes invest in maintaining and maximizing their beauty, but it enhances their already nearly-perfect individuality. Psychologists call the French attitude self-love and psychological maturation.
Bottom line, French women don’t believe they are putty in the hands of fashion designers. French women love style, probably more than any other women in the world. But style exists for them, not vice versa.
French women smile benevolently at Karl Lagerfeld, recognizing his enormous talent but also distinct visual preferences for skinny boys, combined with a masculine, emperor ego.
Historically, tyrants do not exist to make the little people feel good about themselves. They exist to make you feel inferior and subhuman, so you grovel in their benolence.
American Women’s Love of Angst
Unlike French women, American women are pleasers. We want to be liked, to fit in, to be the young California girl. It’s Jennifer Aniston vs. Angelina Jolie in our minds.
We love Jennifer Aniston because she’s always having a quiet breakdown, and we relate to her angst. We identify with Aniston’s vulnerability to the big boys.
Jolie, on the other hand, we actually hold in high regard, but we’re also ambivalent about her. Better that Jolie takes a big fall, so we see her flaws, too. Her confidence and individuality is unnerving. Surely Jolie needs fixing, just like us.
Step 3 in American body image rehab: just say ‘no’. We love self-help books, and I’ll scour the planet looking for some to help us.
Part of becoming more like a French woman — or like the fabulously strong-willed Lara Stone, who checked into a month-long, alcohol-rehab program — is sayng ‘no’. Stone was strong enough to see that drowning herself in booze wasn’t the answer to fitting in the clothes.
Lara Stone said: No, nada, not any more, thank you, to this fashion-industry vision of herself. Stone evolved without taking on fashion. She doesn’t bad mouth the industry. But she does say: take me as I am.
Brain’s Natural RAS System
I explained a few weeks ago that you can make your brain a best friend in this psychological battle for self-love and self-acceptance.
We must program our brains’ RAS system to reject size 0 models as not ‘impossibly beauty’ but “totally unrealistic for me and not my vision of beauty’. Women have brains; let’s use them.
Just Say ‘No’: Programming Your Brain to Hate Size Zero Fashion Ads Anne of Carversville
These women with no breasts, no hips, and legs so spindly that they look like they will break are NOT ‘impossibly beautiful’ to many women. Writing about Ralph Lauren’s beautiful new muse Ubah Hassan, I have no desire to have her body.
We need a mental RAS block, similar to mine on eating beef:
- beef makes me stupid, shrinking the size of my brain
- beef clogs up my arteries with fat that kills me
- beef is 10 times (and more) worse environmentally than chicken
You get the idea. Trust me, when I see a big, juicy hamburger photo, or even sit at a table with folks eating a burger, my lust buds aren’t salivating. I look at beef and see the above descriptors.
My brain’s RAS system bounces all those rare burger cues away, saying “bad for you, bad for you.” There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t learn to view size 0 fashion editorial the same way.
Breasts ‘yes’; hips ‘yes’; muscles (god forbid) ‘yes’. Good legs to run on ‘yes’. I am strong, I am ‘woman’ … sorry, I don’t that attitude is passe in today’s fashion circles. That was the second wave of feminism.
Step 4 in body image rehab: find a role model and hold her tightly to your bosom, metaphorically-speaking (or not, whichever you prefer.)
Lara Stone has solidified her relationship with the woman in the mirror. Giving up alcohol generally helps us do that. Stone’s not a blamer with fashion, and neither am I.
Instead, Stone did a reality check of how to be a successful woman on her own term. Bravo!
Now that she is sober, Lara Stone sees things a lot more clearly, including her own body. “People still tell me I’m fat, but when I look in the mirror, that’s not what I see.”
Stop Calling Me Fat: But Aren’t We? Lara Stone Thinks So Anne of Carversville
We can all have a much more positive relationship with the woman in our own mirror. Let’s remember that fashion is not necessarily devoted to celebrating our best attributes.
Fashion exists to help us spend money being more perfect women. If we love the woman in the mirror, we becomes much more independent thinkers — more like French women.
Real Women Aren’t Boys
For starters, let’s just say: “real women aren’t boys.” Repeat after me: “real women aren’t boys. Real women aren’t boys.”
I apologize to all the gorgeous women, who have small breasts and no hips. I’m not suggesting you’re not ‘real women’. You are the gold standard these days. Everybody’s got their arm around you, the ‘perfect women’.
My focus is all the women who are eating themselves up inside and eating burgers outside, because they can’t look like fashion models. Achievable goals are one thing; totally denying the DNA of your gender is another.
Breasts are a common occurrence in women.
Thanks Vogue for putting the subject of breasts out there. Lara Stone says that she may look like a sex bomb, but she’s actually not one. Anne of Carversville is devoted to telling women that being a sex bomb is just fine. No apology is required.
The majority of women have breasts, and I think it’s time we began celebrating real ones. Most women aren’t 32As and we’re not 34 DDs either.
We’re in between the extremes and frankly, we can’t grow ourselves into either of those models. Currently, the average bra size in America is 36C.
Loving the Woman in the Mirror
I truly believe that loving our imperfect bodies as is, marks the first big step in tackling America’s growing obesity problem. If you hate the woman in the mirror, you have no self-interest in making her healthy and beautiful.
If you see only imperfections in the woman in the mirror, you will not invest in her. She becomes not worth the repair job. Advertising is not on our side here. They know our weaknesses and market directly into our lack of self-worth.
The result is America’s totally neurotic relationship with food, dieting and getting fatter every year. We are hamsters in a cage. The crisis is killing us and our libidos.
Celebrate first, improve only when you become truly sober and independent in your self-scrutiny. Womanly curves are NOT ugly. Repeat after me … womanly curves are NOT ugly. Anne
If you’ve become a regular reader of Anne of Carversville, you understand that we see an intersection between religion and the oppression of women — in particular stamping out our sensuality.
This battle is a historical one of epic proportions and it’s heating up big time.
All the flogging, stoning and global guilt is part of the same patriarchal, political need to control women’s sexuality. Period. Let’s be honest here, after all these years. I am also willing to say that Western women are tired of the suggestion that because we’re not properly ‘modest’, we have no morals and aren’t women of high principles and positive action.
I’ve written Controling of Women’s Bodies, It’s a Fight to the Finish, and I mean it. You’re reading one woman who is done with this nonsense.
Both French and Italian Vogue walk where angels dare not tread in America, even if they do live closer to Rome. In America, this Vogue France fashion editorial is not possible. Conde Nast would be firebombed.
Carine Roitfeld styles Lara Stone in the new issue of French Vogue. This is ample evidence that not only do women have bosoms, but French women are infinitely more independent than American women who fear going to hell over such an editorial statement. Anne
Ironically, V Mag is making a big play for curvy women in its Jan 2010 issue. Who are two of the photographers? Terry Richardson and Karl Lagerfeld. Whew!
Note, I have nothing against bananas, a super healthy libido food. In fact, bananas are supremely good for you. See