In Case You Needed More Reason to Love Johann Hari

We’re having a few hiccups getting post authorization set up, so the following post is by Val:

I can’t say that I love the vitriol apparent in his voice when describing emaciated models (who are, in fact, some of the primary victims here), but his anger seems to be directed more at the men who enforce that particular “aesthetic” than at the women themselves.  In any case, he makes some damn good points. In drawing on Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth (one of my personal favorites), he says:

Wolf points out something remarkable in the shifting tides of the fashion world. Whenever women become stronger in the real world, fashion models — our collective vision of Beauty Incarnate — become weaker and scrawnier. In the 1910s, it was considered beautiful for women to have soft, rounded hips, thighs and bellies: most women’s natural shape. In the 1920s, when women got the vote, the idea of what was beautiful shrank. Suddenly models became bonier and feeble — and women started to starve themselves. In the 1950s, when women’s rights receded, women could be curvy and eat again. With the 1960s and the rise of feminism, models became smaller and smaller — until today, when women are breaking glass ceilings, and emaciated models are the norm.

Read the entire article here.


3 Responses to In Case You Needed More Reason to Love Johann Hari

  1. Judith says:

    We were just talking about this the other night in an online chat, about how Marilyn Monroe was an 8 to a 10 in today’s sizes. That’s my size! And I think of her as super-skinny, so it’s interesting to think about how much things have shifted. Today’s models don’t even look remotely healthy, and someone my size could only model for something like soap, while someone a little heavier than me (still in a healthy range!) would be considered “plus size.” Absolutely ridiculous. I’ll have to read The Beauty Myth.

  2. Mary says:

    I’ve not read the Beauty Myth either but I do tend to ‘size’ up myself in comparison to other women on the street and I tend to think hippy, curvy women are more beautiful. But for some reason I cannot see my body as beautiful when it is rounder and fuller.

    I don’t like to use the word scrawny or feeble because my sister is naturally on the thin side and she is anything but feeble. I think the “delicate, fragile aesthetic” is what the author is thinking of when he uses these descriptors.

  3. Val says:

    Yeah, his use of words like “scrawny” was part of what I was referring to in the beginning. Got to love the myriad expressions of victim blaming!

    Also, YES to what you said about what you find attractive v. how you feel attractive. As a bisexual woman who dealt with anorexia (god, these labels are getting heavy), I have a really hard time with this. I’ve always found curvaceous, hippy women to be much more sexually attractive, but for some reason I divorce that from the idea of “aesthetically attractive” – i.e. waif-like, which was the only standard to which I held myself.

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